Video by David Corrigan (video uploading)
HILO, Hawaii: The tsunami warning that was in effect for Hawaii was downgraded to a tsunami advisory shortly before 1 a.m. on Sunday.
The warning was declared shortly after a 7.7 earthquake struck near the Queen Charlotte Islands off the coast of Canada at around 5 p.m. on Saturday.
After monitoring the coastline around the Aloha State for a few hours after the predicted tsunami arrival at 10:28 p.m., Governor Neil Abercrombie cancelled the warning. The state’s counties followed suit. The last Hawaii County Civil Defense message stated:
Evacuated residents may return to their homes at this time, However, Hawaii could experience small non-destructive sea level changes and strong or unusual currents lasting up to several hours. As a result all harbors and beaches will remain closed until further notice. Updates will be issued as conditions change.
In Hilo, Hawaii County Mayor Billy Kenoi immediately spoke to media gathered in the civil defense headquarters. He stressed that the Big Island’s officials were not declaring an “all clear”, and that harbors and beaches would still be closed. However, road blocks in evacuation zones were taken down, and temporarily displaced residents were able to return home.
Kenoi said that there was some activity in Hilo Bay, as well as the harbor. Reports say a surge of about 4 feet hit the bay. Even after the warning was lifted, we filmed the water at the Wailoa Boat Harbor swirling in strange patterns, rushing in and out, carrying debris, and rocking boats.
The mayor also confirmed there were some issues with the warning sirens in Hilo and Puna; reports say the sirens did not sound until after 9 p.m. in some locations.
There were no injuries and no confirmed reports of damage. We may know more in the light of day, but for now, Hawaii County is breathing a sigh of relief.