By David Corrigan
HILO, Hawaii: The state of Hawaii is now under a tsunami warning after a 7.7 earthquake struck off the Queen Charlotte Islands Region (located in the province of British Columbia, Canada.) The estimated arrival time of the first wave is expected to be 10:28 p.m. on Saturday, October 28th… just a few hours from now. At first, it appeared as if there would be no warning issued. This message was distributed by Hawaii County Civil Defense:
This is your Hawaii County Civil Defense. This is a Coastal Area update for the Island of Hawaii for Saturday, October 27, 2012 at 6:30PM.A 7.7 earthquake occurred in the Queen Charlotte Islands Region of British Columbia at 5:04PM HST. A Tsunami Warning has NOT been issued for the State of Hawaii, I repeat, a Tsunami Warning has not been issued for the State of Hawaii. However, Hawaii could experience small non-destructive sea level changes and strong or unusual currents from 10:30PM tonight lasting up to several hours. Again, although a tsunami is not expected, Hawaii could experience small non-destructive sea level changes and strong or unusual currents from 10:30PM tonight lasting up to several hours. Please avoid coastal areas and do not enter the ocean from 10:30PM tonight and remain clear until the ocean returns to normal which could take several hours.Thank you for your cooperation. Have a safe evening. This is your Hawaii County Civil Defense.
But now, the Pacific Tsunami Warning Center has upgraded the message to include a warning for Hawaii.
THIS UPGRADE IS DUE TO THE SEA LEVEL READINGS RECEIVED AND THE RESULTING CHANGE IN THE HAWAII TSUNAMI FORECAST.
Under the evaluation, the PTWC says:
A TSUNAMI HAS BEEN GENERATED THAT COULD CAUSE DAMAGE ALONG COASTLINES OF ALL ISLANDS IN THE STATE OF HAWAII. URGENT ACTION SHOULD BE TAKEN TO PROTECT LIVES AND PROPERTY. A TSUNAMI IS A SERIES OF LONG OCEAN WAVES. EACH INDIVIDUAL WAVE CREST CAN LAST 5 TO 15 MINUTES OR MORE AND EXTENSIVELY FLOOD COASTAL AREAS. THE DANGER CAN CONTINUE FOR MANY HOURS AFTER THE INITIAL WAVE AS SUBSEQUENT WAVES ARRIVE. TSUNAMI WAVE HEIGHTS CANNOT BE PREDICTED AND THE FIRST WAVE MAY NOT BE THE LARGEST. TSUNAMI WAVES EFFICIENTLY WRAP AROUND ISLANDS. ALL SHORES ARE AT RISK NO MATTER WHICH DIRECTION THEY FACE. THE TROUGH OF A TSUNAMI WAVE MAY TEMPORARILY EXPOSE THE SEAFLOOR BUT THE AREA WILL QUICKLY FLOOD AGAIN. EXTREMELY STRONG AND UNUSUAL NEARSHORE CURRENTS CAN ACCOMPANY A TSUNAMI. DEBRIS PICKED UP AND CARRIED BY A TSUNAMI AMPLIFIES ITS DESTRUCTIVE POWER. SIMULTANEOUS HIGH TIDES OR HIGH SURF CAN SIGNIFICANTLY INCREASE THE TSUNAMI HAZARD.
Big Island Video News will continue to follow the events as they happen.