Monday, March 14, 2011

Tsunami Update Guests Assured

Our guests in Waikoloa Beach were evacuated one night and returned safely to their vacation homes the next morning.

Tsunami causes limited damage in Hawaii,

By Jerry Limone

A tsunami had "no major impact" on the Hawaiian Islands, reported the Hawaii Visitors and Convention Bureau on Friday, but there was some damage.

According to reports, waves as high as seven feet crashed onto Hawaiian shores early Friday morning.

Surges caused extensive damage to piers and boats at Keehi Small Boat Harbor in Honolulu, reported the Honolulu Star-Advertiser. The newspaper also said the King Kamehameha Kona Beach Hotel on the Big Island got a foot of water in the lobby, and that flooding was reported in Kahului on Maui.

Mufi Hanneman, president of the Hawaii Hotels and Lodging association, told the Star-Advertiser that at least three Hawaii hotels suffered damage during the tsunami and he expected more reports in coming days. In addition to the King Kamehameha Beach, the Big Island’s Mauna Lani Resort and the Maui Beach in Wailuku incurred damage as a result of high water.

“Water damage was only evident on the Big Island’s Kona Coast and the Kohala Coast and in Wailuku Maui,” he told the Star-Advertiser. “No one is reporting structural damages or loss of life. As far as we can tell, the damage was minor.”

At 8 am on Friday, Honolulu Mayor Peter Carlisle issued an all-clear for Oahu residents after a mass evacuation of coastal areas.

By late morning, the beaches and sidewalks of Waikiki were again filled with visitors and residents.

"It is rapidly becoming business as usual throughout the state," the HVCB said Friday.

During a Friday afternoon press conference with Hawaii governor Neil Abercrombie, Vice Director of State Civil Defense Ed Texiera told reporters that at least $3 million worth of damage to state facilities and land occurred during the tsunami and one home near the Big Island’s Kealakekua Bay, where waves reportedly reached 11 to 12 feet, was “dragged out to sea.”

At approximately 8:05 a.m. local time, the Pacific Tsunami Warning Center reduced the tsunami warning to a tsunami advisory for the Hawaiian Islands.

There was a tsunami warning throughout the Pacific following the 8.9-magnitude earthquake and devastating tsunami that struck northeastern Japan.

Travel Weekly Contributing Editor Shane Nelson contributed to this report from Honolulu.

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