The entire state of Hawaii is on high tsunami alert following the massive 8.8 earthquake that devastated Chile this morning. Potentially deadly waves are flying through the Pacific ocean at the speed of a jet as these words are being written.
Many residences and hotels have been evacuated on the islands of Hawaii as people are urged to find higher ground. The giant waves are expected to begin hitting the shore at 11:05 AM Hawaii local time, or 1:05 Pacific Time.
The bright side of this is the amount of preparation time officials have. This has not been in the case with previous tsunamis. “We’ve got a lot of things going for us,” said Charles McCreery, the director of the Pacific Tsunami Warning Center, which issues warnings to almost every country around the Pacific Rim and to most of the Pacific island states.
“We have a reasonable lead time. “We should be able to alert everyone in harm’s way to move out of the evacuation zones,” he said.
People are flooding grocery stores and gas stations in an attempt to stock up as much as possible. “These are dangerous, dangerous events,” said John Cummings, spokesman for the Honolulu Emergency Management Department.
Many other Pacific islands have been warned of tsunami, including Tonga, Guam, American Samoa and Samoa. Even southern California coastal regions have been given tsunami advisories (although officials say those residents will probably not notice anything unusual)
Here’s a National Geographic segment of what a giant tsunami hitting Hawaii would be like. The one expected today will not be of this proportion by any means, but this video is interesting nonetheless. It’s also terrifying.