Although in the end the tsunami that reached the Hawaiian islands on Saturday from the earthquake in Chile was relatively small, the events that day were certainly memorable, especially for those of us living in the many evacuation zones. The news from Chile continues to worsen as the situation becomes clearer and of course all our thoughts go out to those affected there by the tragedy. Thankfully the loss of life wasn't as great as it could have been or spread around the Pacific and Pacific rim.
One of my favourite island news sites is Big Island Video News run by Dave Corrigan. Here are some recent videos of the events in the Hilo area from that site and for those not familiar with the area, please enjoy the views of the beautiful Hilo area:
VIDEO: Hawaii Island prepares, waits for tsunami - (5 min 24 secs, video by Dave Corrigan) - The preparations begin and an interview with Hawaii Island mayor Billy Kenoi. The sound of the warning sirens right at the start of the video still bring me chills because you know the evacuation is for real when you hear them.
VIDEO: Hawaii Mayor reflects on tsunami - (5 min 27 secs, video by Dave Corrigan) - Billy Kenoi's press conference after the all clear was given. It includes the reasoning behind sounding the warning sirens when they did.
VIDEO: Early morning tsunami scramble in Hilo - (2 mins 42 secs, video by Tim Bryan) - The evacuation begins.
VIDEO: Bird's eye view of tsunami surge in Hilo - (1 min 53 secs, video by Dave Corrigan, Tim Bryan & Baron Sekiya) - My favourite of the four videos. Billy Kenoi gets a ride in a Black Hawk helicopter and some beautiful shots of the Hilo Bay area including the effects of the tsunami on the water in the bay and Coconut Island. It was such a beautiful and clear day as well with Mauna Kea easily visible from Hilo and Puna.
Whatever people think about the whole thing, especially the initial predictions of large waves that proved to be wrong, I think this ended up being a very useful exercise for everyone. There have been some civil defense tsunami exercises in the last year or so but of course they couldn't actually include a real evacuation, but this did. I think everyone has learned a lot of lessons from this event but to be honest it was handled extremely well and the evacuation was fairly flawless.