Hilo, Hawaii – Video by David Corrigan, Tim Bryan, Baron Sekiya
The best views of the 2010 tsunami were from above.
The numerous surges in and out of Hilo Bay caused no damage, and for residents that gathered up-slope to witness the forecasted tsunami landfall at 11:00 a.m. left after an hour or so of waiting. For most, the warning sirens and evacuations were a non-event.
However, it was a different story for those watching the coverage on TV. The water was being visibly sucked in and out of the bay in a display that was both powerful and awe-inspiring. The entire population drew a deep breath. Most of the island’s residents knew that the emptying of the bays and waterways is usually the cautionary first indication that the “big one” is one the way. Luckily for Hilo, that big one never arrived. When the surge changed direction and inundated the waterways, the highest reported wave height was only about 3 feet.
Hawaii County Mayor Billy Kenoi took to the air in a Blackhawk helicopter for a better vantage point. The 90 minute fly-over gave the Big Island’s top official a complete view of the surging waters.
Video journalist Tim Bryan had a good view from above, as well. His video, taken from the roof of the nearby Hilo Lagoon building, captured the water rushing in and out of the Wailoa River. One tsunami surge was seen rushing up around the palm trees standing just a few feet inland. The moment was one of the few “tsunami waves” to be recorded during the event. Most of the surges were more gradual and less visible in real time motion.
This video includes some shots of the hovering Blackhawk helicopter, carrying the mayor above Hilo Bay, courtesy Baron Sekiya and Hawaii247.org.