HONOLULU, Hawaii (eTN) – Dr. Gerard Fryer of the Pacific Tsunami Center appeared on statewide television news, saying it appeared the tsunami activity would not be a major damaging event.
At around 3:20 am Hawaii time, the ocean began to surge forward and recede at 15-minute intervals. In Nawiliwili on the island of Kauai, the sea level rose to 2.1 feet; in Kahului, the level rose by 7 feet. Perhaps the most dramatic report so far was by a news crew briefly allowed into the area of Haleiwa on Oahu’s famous North Shore where the ocean surged 50 feet inland into the boat harbor, covering the harbor parking lot. The crew saw fish stranded on the pavement after the water receded. According to Dr. Fryer, he would expect that there would be some pocketed damage as the ocean surged in and out, although so far he had not heard of anything specific.
In the Diamond Head area on Oahu, as the water receded for the second time, the reef was completely exposed to around 100 feet out from the shore, and then the water slowly returned and covered it all back in again. The famous wall of Waikiki Beach was submerged under the ocean and then revealed along with the reef behind it as the ocean surges moved in and out of the shorelines.
So far the water did not get anywhere beyond the vegetation line, so there has been no flooding of inland areas. The coastal areas on all islands had been evacuated by 1:00 am throughout the state.
When Dr. Fryer was asked about when the all clear would be issued, he said, “The all clear depends on how the tsunami goes. We will follow the tide gauges and issue the all clear on a location by location basis.” He expected the all clear may be issued in a couple of hours, but said they had to watch the actions of the waves bouncing back and forth between the islands.