Hilo, Hawaii – Video by Tim Bryan
Although later events revealed that the Hawaiian Islands would be spared, early Saturday morning saw a pre-tsunami scramble that got underway before the sun rose.
Videojournalist Tim Bryan was out early capturing the tense moments as residents evacuated, crowded gas stations and boarded up storefronts.
Hilo, a town whose very identity is intertwined with the violence of past tsunamis, was going to be the first of the Hawaiian Islands to be affected by the surge from the 8.8 earthquake that devastated Chile late the night before. As Big Island residents went to bed the night before, emergency officials monitored the Pacific Ocean. A Tsunami Warning was issued overnight, and by 6 in the morning, the first siren rang out across the islands. The eyes of the state, and the world, were situated squarely on Hilo as the clock ticked down to the 11:00 a.m. tsunami landfall.
The Hilo Airport, situated in a tsunami zone, was shut down. Gas stations and markets were mobbed. Bayfront stores were boarded up by owners. Boaters hurried to lift their vessels out of the water at the Wailoa Small Boat Harbor.
Luckily for residents, the tsunami was not destructive. However, most residents say the precautionary measures, like the ones seen taken in this video, are a worthy exercise when the ocean threatens Hawaii’s shores.