Tsunami Scare February 27, 2010

Today was to be about Rapid Fire Learning ~ and that it was!

Saturday, February 27, 2010 became the ‘host’ of an unexpected event: A Tsunami advisory, then watch, then warning for us in Hawai‘i nei, sent by an 8.8 earthquake about 6,000 miles away in Chile. Here’s a sampling of my play-by-play tweets to remember the day this has been:

5:40am Pacific Tsunami Warning Center issued a tsunami warning, its highest alert, for Hawaii. Follow @hawaiiredcross

6:17am Such a strange thing to hear…“If you are in a coastal area, leave your home assuming you cannot go back.” #hitsunami

7:15am Tsunami waves are not surfing waves or photo opps: Please prepare to leave coastal areas. Don’t put others in danger attempting to save you!

7:20am So many blessings to count, w/just short of 4 more hrs to prepare mālie~ calmly, w/ways science/ technology now help us be aware #hitsunami

7:50am I urge neighbor island tweeters to get necessary info out: Media coverage very O‘ahu centric, understandably per their resources #hitsunami

7:58am “A tsunami isn’t just 1 wave but a series, surging in/ out over several hours.” See inundation zones front pages of your phone bk #hitsunami

8:07am Mahalo friends for tweet-wishes and w/getting info out. Our ‘Ohana in safe place. We’re now preparing our home for others needing shelter

8:33am Think about traffic, go mauka early as you can w/calm: “All roads in coastal inundation zones will begin closing at 10am HI.time” #hitsunami

9:17am 6ft wave in Marquesas lowering forecast, but not enough to put Hawai‘i harbors/coasts out of danger: Continue your preparations. #hitsunami

9:22am Very proud of you Hawai‘i re media coverage I’m hearing: We’re taking this very seriously, but calmly, and w/Aloha, kokua for all #hitsunami

9:36am Hawai‘i keep in mind we’ve been in drought, reservoirs already low. Turn off irrigation systems: conserve water ‘til we know more #hitsunami

9:44am Very impressed by ongoing television coverage all-islands on @KHONnews @KITV4 and @HawaiiNewsNow: Mahalo to all of you! #hitsunami

10:01am Kuleana Kākou: Time to get off the roads, stay home/at high ground; keep roads clear for evacuation buses and emergency personnel #hitsunami

10:13am Big Isle: We’ve less than an hour before 1st surge expected in Hilo: Have your battery-powered radios ready if power interruption #hitsunami

10:16am Oh my, prayers for Chile ‘Ohana! RT: @WSJ New photos of the destruction in Chile after their massive earthquake: http://on.wsj.com/azJ0Rn

11:35am Water definitely receding, unusual surf activity in many areas. Thanks to technology of today we are seeing and learning so much! #hitsunami

11:53am Truly amazing to see our ocean water behave so differently. white water going backwards, reefs exposed. mesmerizing. still gentle #hitsunami

11:57am “This is not an exact science, everybody has to be patient, we’re still in the waiting period.” Ed Teixeira state civil defense #hitsunami

12:04pm Auwe, ocean churn increasing, and 1st wave “not necessarily the biggest.” See live feed here: http://www.hawaiinewsnow.com/ #hitsunami

12:07pm Way too many Twitter news updates to RT— wow! The list I have w/news most local to #hitsunami is @rosasay/newsfeeds

12:34pm News: “1st tsunami wave has now reached all Hawaiian islands. Its energy is now swirling all around us. Too early to call off warning tho.”

12:57pm Latest/ quick to hit the net! RT @CBSNews Tsunami official in Hi says “We dodged a bullet” but keeps warning in effect http://bit.ly/bE9WRq

1:03pm Hawai‘i ‘Ohana please keep safe, cautious. Live feeds show our ocean still behaving strangely w/erratic current shifts and surges #hitsunami

1:46pm Now hearing official word: Pacific Tsunami Center lifting #hitsunami warning: We’re in “stand-down” mode. Significant surges, but no damage

1:56pm A very BIG Mahalo to caring Aloha Spirit of Twitter ‘Ohana: I’ve got to believe all those good vibes help in exponential ways #hitsunami

1:59pm Now 56 aftershocks 5.0+ from Chile. Pacific Tsunami concerns not over for Guam, Japan, the Samoas, NZ, others. Keep the Aloha Spirit strong

2:33pm RT @alohajanet: Hawaii residents we were lucky today #hitsunami Donate your canned goods to a local food bank. Need is great in this economy

3:36pm Betcha many afternoon nappers in Hawai‘i after being up all night to prepare for #hitsunami I’m liking that idea too w/last guest now gone.

5:37pm News Update: Tsunami may still be a concern for Russia and Northern Japan. All others in the Pacific now in the clear. (via @HawaiiNewsNow)

Getting Some Air

Technology has changed so much. The day does give me a sense of wonder about the difference (After Sunday’s Earthquake, October 2006 …no Twitter then, all my reporting after the fact).

As Jennifer Chandler summed up in these three tweets:

my opinion: twitter works because it creates community among people who weren’t community before. we call it different things…

… we call it marketing, pr, govt -but at the end of the day, its still good ol social mechanisms and our own desires driving us together.

when there’s a crisis, we become community for many different reasons and suddenly the boundaries shift… like we saw today…

8:50pm Update: I see Jennifer has published a blog post:
Community emergence in times of crisis #hitsunami

And in the interest of complete reporting, this from Howard Dicus, “Hawaii News Now Resident Explainer:” Apotheosis of the dumbass


  1. Rosa Say says

    Good morning world. Aftermath. No tsunami, just a routine Sunday morning where I can write, have a home-brewed café latte. Gotta love “boring.”

    Did a quick check of my news feeds, and I’m grateful to hear that Russia and Japan escaped a tsunami tragedy too. The earthquake damage in Chile is bad enough, and we can now focus our help there.

    I’m still thinking about our heroes. Ordinary ones who are first responders, all-night news reporters. No book deal, no social media contract, just hero Ho‘ohana. There is quite a difference between bravado foolishness which is selfish, and the quiet bravery of doing the right thing, and good things… like trying to go surfing while others work to clear the beaches, or trying to get the perfect photo for your collection as others evacuate elders onto buses.

    These so-called “non-events” paint huge pictures of the day to day reality which keeps us civil and humane, and which we take for granted.

    Some of the biggest hero stories happened when the television cameras, previously keeping all eyes focused on a possible capture of history in the making, returned us to “regularly scheduled programming” and that work of getting things back to normal began in earnest. There were heroes in hotels and other places holding down the fort, or camped out in nearby higher-ground parking lots, waiting for an all-clear and never having the opportunity to go back and wait things out with their own families. They knew that should the tsunami prove to be a “non event” people’s patience would quickly wear thin as they looked for something to eat in an open restaurant, or sought to otherwise save their own Saturday weekend routine.

    A lot of tweeting stopped then too. Some could take well-earned naps, but for others, there was still a considerable amount of work to do bringing back normal for everyone else who demanded it, and didn’t understand, couldn’t empathize with any reason they would not get their life pampering conveniences. No time to tweet when dirty work beckons, and most wouldn’t consider that kind of tweet-reporting very interesting anyway.

    Yesterday wasn’t a non event at all. It was huge.