East Hawaii News

PTWC Ends Tsunami Advisory, Small Waves Impact the State

September 17, 2015, 7:36 AM HST
* Updated September 17, 8:34 AM
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A Tsunami Advisory for Hawai’i has been canceled, according to the Pacific Tsunami Warning Center.The advisory went into effect Wednesday and continued as the PTWC evaluates potentially hazardous ocean conditions. PTWC says that tsunami wave heights have now fallen below advisory levels.

This photo was taken in the early morning hours of Sept. 17 as a small tsunami generated by a 8.3 earthquake off the coast of Central Chile impacted the Banyan Drive portion of Hilo. Photo credit: Peggy Beckett.

This photo was taken in the early morning hours of Sept. 17 as a small tsunami generated by a 8.3 earthquake off the coast of Central Chile impacted the Banyan Drive portion of Hilo. Photo credit: Peggy Beckett.

East Hawai’i saw some of the initial and largest waves as a result of the 8.3 magnitude earthquake that struck just off the coast of Central Chile Wednesday afternoon at 12:54 p.m. local time.

Hilo measured an initial wave of 2.3 feet at about 3:47 a.m. and another three-foot amplitude wave at about 4:06 a.m.

Gauges near Kawaihae measured a wave of 0.9 feet at 4:26 a.m.

PTWC says that the amplitude measured is relative to normal sea level and is not “crest-to-tough wave height.”

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East portions of the island saw the largest wave heights in the state with Honolulu, Oahu and Kahului, Maui seeing amplitudes of 0.2 feet and 2.2 feet, respectively.

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Peggy Beckett, who was staying at the Hilo Seaside Hotel, said she woke up at 3 a.m. to see what would happen.

This photo was taken in the early morning hours of Sept. 17 as a small tsunami generated by a 8.3 earthquake off the coast of Central Chile impacted the Banyan Drive portion of Hilo. Photo credit: Peggy Beckett.

This photo was taken in the early morning hours of Sept. 17 as a small tsunami generated by a 8.3 earthquake off the coast of Central Chile impacted the Banyan Drive portion of Hilo. Photo credit: Peggy Beckett.

“Around 4 a.m. there was a gradual drop in the water level, with bottom becoming exposed, and a series of four distinct waves coming in and then a fifth that was only a rise in water level,” Beckett told Big Island Now Thursday morning.

Beckett says the first four waves went over the wall lining the Hilo “Ice Ponds” and into the street and partway up to car tires.

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“The waves had the wave sound, and you could see the wave [height maybe six inches but clearly a wave],” Beckett said. “The sound was present with the water when it receded. It poured over the street and into the hotel’s pond.”

Despite the overnight minor tsunami wave, Beckett says the roadway is now cleared and everything seems to have returned to normal.

No damage has been reported.

PTWC cautions that small sea level changes and unusual currents may still persist for the next few hours.

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