Friday, March 11, 2011

Tsunami in Hawaii 2011 Edition

Well, Here we go again....
I'm apologizing in advance for I have been up for about 35 hours now and I'm feeling a bit loopy.
Just about 5 minutes ago CNN reported that the largest tsunami wave ( so far ) recorded in the US was in Lahaina coming in at 9'. In case you didn't know this already, this is where I live.
 But, as you probably know by now we are all okay.... I'm sitting here on a computer with internet access across the street from a calm ocean and we are dry. In fact, Carlos is at work right now in Lahaina.
This is my 3rd Tsunami Warning in just 2 years. One last year right here at home on Maui ( Chile Quake ) and one in New Zealand when an earthquake struck Samoa. 
So how did my night start?
Well, I got a text message from a friend  on the other side of the island at 9:13 pm that simply said, "Tsunami watch for 3am. 8.9 off Japan"
Okay, seems like a deja vu right? However, This time it felt different for some reason. Why? Because it was Japan? Because it was night time? Dunno....
 So, we quickly rolled out our ancient TV and hooked it up so we could see the local news.  Japan was an absolute disaster and Japan is quite a bit closer to Hawaii than Chile so it felt way more threating this time immediately. 
We had about 6 hours...
First things first.
Hurry and fill the cars with gas.
Sorry for the grainy IPhone pic but the line was ridiculous already! Screw this! I left Carlos there with one car so I could drive to the market to get some supplies.
Forget it...nighmare lines. Good thing we had several gallons of water on us already.
FYI- this is where I gave up on picture taking the rest of the night. It was so dark out you wouldn't have seen anything anyway. I'm sorry...
Around 10 pm there were police on my street with blow horns telling us to evacuate. We're in the evac zone but there was no real way to move anywhere because the streets were in absolute gridlock in every direction. It was at this point that I lost cell service and the first loud tsunami sirens started to sound.... To make matters worse, Carlos had not gotten home yet from the gas station so I was getting irritated. Luckily he arrived within the hour.
I'll be really honest now...
I didn't want to go anywhere. I just didn't feel like packing stuff up, loading up the cat and sleeping in the pineapple fields. To be honest, I just wanted to stay home and watch Japan updates on CNN.
However, Carlos felt very different so we decided to compromise....If Midway Island gets hit ( a big indicator for Hawaii ) then we'll leave asap. So to prepare just in case I stuffed some important docs in my purse ( birth certs, passports, SS card etc. ) grabbed my expensive jewelry and watches and pulled out the cat carrier. I then settled down in front of the TV with a glass of wine and Carlos passed out on the couch.
At 2:00 am I learned that an 8 ft wave hit Midway so I then understood that we really had to go. Waves were expected to hit Hawaii starting at 3 am  so I shook Carlos awake, stuffed Taj in his cage and we drove to a safe high elevation. The roads were actually very still at this time of the night. Everyone was already in place I guess? I knew of a secret high elevation road near the ka'anapali coffee fields that I figured would be open so that's where we went. It was very dark, and very quiet out. I started thinking about the things we left behind in our home and all I could think about was the garden I just planted 2 days ago. Honestly,  It was so bizarre.... sitting in my car in the pitch black moonless night listening to tsunami sirens sounding. Carlos was asleep again ( seriously WTF... How??!! ) and so was Taj ( purring so loud I recorded it )  so it was just me and my IPhone watching Twitter updates as the first waves started to hit my island state.
6 am
I was so tired..... I couldn't sleep in my drivers seat and I wanted to go home so we decided to try. After passing through a road block in the early dawn we saw that our street was dry and safe so we spent the remainder of the morning getting updates from friends on damage in the islands. Apparently the Big Island and Maui were hit the hardest.... Lots of flooding/damage in Kailua/Kona and Kealakekua. And for Maui? Well, Kahului flooded with reports of water and sewage 1/3 of a mile inland. West Maui flooded as well near my home. Schools and government offices were closed today, our trash was not picked up, and our mail was not delivered. If you didn't hear about any of this I wouldn't be surprised. Oahu seems to forget that there are other islands in the state. Honolulu and Waikiki faired pretty well and that's what was really reported (  so it seems on the national news ). We are happy about that but I have a feeling things will be surfacing on the neighbor islands over the next few days....
At 5 pm this evening I finally decided to take a drive.
Things looked really good so it seems like we got lucky again....Here's some more IPhone pictures of the area near my home.
{ debris on the Lower Honoapiilani }

{ lots of muddy water pooled everywhere }

Not too bad huh?
Carlos promised me he wouldn't try and surf today even though he wanted to ( some people actually slept last night remember....)
Off to watch Anderson Cooper now ( hot ) and then off to bed ( finally).


  1. Glad you are safe and sound, must have been pretty scary. Sleep well xxx

  2. I thought of you all day yesterday. I am glad you are safe... now go get some rest!

  3. So glad you're OK! I actually thought of you when I heard about the tsunami warnings. Glad you and most of your community seemed to fare well.

  4. Thank you for your concerns...I feel much better now after a good sleep :)