Maui, Hawaii

Tag: tsunami

Monthly warning siren testing

Maui’s new warning sirens

If you’ve been here around the first of the month, you should be familiar with the monthly warning siren testing that takes place. Loud sirens sound at 11:45AM on the first day of every month. This checks that the sirens are operational and is meant to be a reminder to all that tsunamis can happen.

Starting tomorrow (Friday, December 1st) the State is adding an additional ‘wailing’ siren test to the monthly routine. This is called the attack warning siren and will sound in conjunction with the tsunami warning siren on the first day of every month at 11:45AM. I am told it will be a wailing tone that goes for about a minute. Click here for a sound sample as reported by MauiNow.

As an FYI, the tsunami siren test is a 45 second steady tone. During an actual tsunami warning, it goes for 3 minutes.

What should you do when you hear warning sirens?

If it’s the first of the month and at 11:45AM, it’s just a test. No further action needed.

These older warning sirens have for the most part been replaced.

If you hear these sirens at any other time, you need to take action. If it’s the tsunami siren, you need to head to higher ground immediately. It could be a locally triggered tsunami and you may have just a few minutes to get to safety. Tune in to radio or TV for further instructions. Depending on where the earthquake happened, we sometimes have up to 10 hours notice (no the sirens won’t go off that far in advance).

Locally triggered tsunamis? Yes, tsunamis are triggered by some earthquakes. While Hawaii is far removed from fault lines, we do have volcanic activity which causes earthquakes (generally they are rather small and I don’t recall experiencing a locally triggered tsunami in the past 7 years on island).

If it’s the attack warning siren, that indicates that a nuclear attack is imminent. Head indoors, close doors and windows and turn on radio or TV for further instructions for a pending emergency. Having said that, I assume you’d have to be find a local station?

Isn’t it crazy that things have deteriorated on the world stage that we need to plan for this?  The last time these attack sirens were tested was in the 1980s. Is the State expecting a nuclear attack? Politicians think it’s unlikely. And yet, State planners are running through scenarios so that they are prepared in case something were to happen. It’s good to have a plan. Hopefully we will never need to use it.

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Tsunami Watch after Major Chilean Earthquake

****UPDATE: According to MauiNow the tsunami triggered relatively small up to 2.2 ft waves at Kahului harbor that came in approx 18 minutes apart. For more information check out this article. Reminder, please stay out of the ocean for a few days.

****UPDATE: This has been changed to a Tsunami ADVISORY. An advisory means that no major tsunami is expected at this time. There may be some fluctuation in ocean levels. However, the main thing to keep in mind is this: STAY OUT OF THE OCEAN FOR A FEW DAYS. Why is that? Tsunamis mess with ocean currents and get things in the ocean all riled up. There is increased risk of being swept out and also of shark attacks as they are also affected by this change to their environment. STAY SAFE! 🙂 And do keep an eye on the news until tomorrow morning.****

The Pacific Tsunami Warning Center has issued a TSUNAMI WATCH for the Hawaiian Islands following a major earthquake off the coast of Chile. If memory serves me correctly, the last tsunami to hit Hawaii was also generated by an earthquake off the coast of Chile.

What is a tsunami watch? This is just an alert, stating that tsunami waves MAY have been generated by the earthquake. Since it’s just happened, it is much too early to know for sure. The Pacific Tsunami Warning Center will continue to monitor the buoys stationed around the Pacific and update once they know more. Due to the distance between Chile and Hawaii, any potential tsunami waves won’t arrive until after midnight sometime.

What should you do?

Most importantly stay calm. Keep an eye on the news (MauiNow, MauiWatch, HawaiiNewsNow). Check to see if you are in a low-lying area and need to evacuate. If you are staying at our Sugar Beach and Kihei Surfside condos, you are in the evacuation zone. If you are staying at our Maui Kamaole or Palms at Wailea condos, you are in the safe zone.

If you are in the evacuation zone, prepare your ‘go kit’ to evacuate to higher ground. Check with the front desk where the recommended evacuation zones are. I have emergency preparedness information in a binder in each of our condos – read it! Re-fuel your vehicle. Be prepared to evacuate when advised/ordered by Civil Defense.

Check out my blog post from April 2014 for tsunami information.

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Continuing education for your condo owner!

Wednesday was continuing education day for me. I sit on two Boards of Directors – at both our Maui Kamaole and Kihei Surfside complexes. They like to send us board members to seminars, this week’s was on Disaster Preparedness. It sure was a good one!

Assistant Fire Chief, Maui Civil Defense Emergency Mgmt Officer, Kihei Police Captain

Did you know, there are four different natural disasters we plan for on Maui:
earthquakes/tsunamis, tropical cyclones (hurricanes), flooding and wildfires.

After sitting through this session I am happy to report that it sounds like the County has good plans in place in case of disaster. Each of the properties our condos are located in has its own disaster preparedness plan which varies depending on whether the property is located within the flood zone (Sugar Beach and Kihei Surfside are, Palms at Wailea and Maui Kamaole are not). I also have a plan for our condos, which involves calling our guests and telling them what to expect. Thank goodness in almost all instances (with exception of a local earthquake) we have time to prepare (from a few hours to days). I am now in the process of putting together an information sheet to place in each of our condos.

The two most important things to remember – don’t panic and use common sense.

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Tsunami Advisory Update – no major damage expected, but beaches closed!

As of 9 pm (6.5 hours before the waves are expected to hit Hawaii), the Pacific Tsunami Warning Institute is not expecting any major waves that would cause flooding inland.

However, they do caution that there may be elevated water levels and strong currents in the water. Maui County has closed all beaches until 12pm tomorrow (April 2nd).

Please be safe and don’t put the lives of others (who may need to rescue you) in danger.

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Possible Tsunami following the 8.2 Chile earthquake

As you may have seen in the news, Chile had a big earthquake a few hours ago. Experts at the Pacific Tsunami Warnings Center are currently evaluating to see if Hawaii is to expect a tsunami sometime early morning on April 2nd. Please check the local news for up-to-date information.

This is a good time to review what to expect in case of a tsunami and what to do. A year ago I wrote this post on tsunami awareness. I thought this is a good time to refresh our memories…

April is Tsunami Awareness Month

April is Tsunami Awareness Month in Hawaii. The likelihood of there being a tsunami while you are on holiday is very slim, and yet, it’s a good idea to know what to expect.

Tsunamis are caused by displacement of ocean water, usually by earthquakes. There are two types of tsunamis – those caused by a local earthquake and those caused by earthquakes far away.

If it is a local earthquake and you are at the beach, there will be little time for warning. Here are the signs to look for:

  • sudden pulling back of the water
  • earth moving for at least 20 seconds, possibly knocking people to the ground
  • hearing the ocean roar

If you experience any of these while at the beach, you should move away from the beach to at least 100 feet above sea level (one mile inland or in a pinch at least to the fourth floor of an apartment building). If it is a local earthquake, the tsunami waves could arrive within minutes.

If it is a far away earthquake, there will be more warning time. The NOAA Pacific Tsunami Warning Center tracks all earthquakes and monitors their DART buoys for possible tsunamis. Should there be a tsunami headed our way, they issue alerts via local media (radio, local TV stations etc). You can find warnings on facebook and twitter (try hashtag #hitsunami).

The most obvious warning will come from the tsunami sirens located wherever there is danger of flooding (if you are in a remote location, there may not be a siren). When there is a tsunami warning, these will start wailing (steady three minute tone), fortunately not non-stop but at regular intervals (note: there is amonthly emergency systems test the first day of every month at 11:45 – don’t panic!) If the sirens start wailing, listen to the local news and follow their directions. Warnings will always tell you when the first tidal wave is expected to arrive. Please listen to these warnings and obey them.

How do you know if you are in an evacuation area? Here are two evacuation maps for Kihei/Wailea, you can also look on the County of Maui website in the phone book (we have them in all our condos). If you are staying in our Kihei Surfside and Sugar Beach condos, you are in the evacuation area. If you are staying at our Maui Kamaole or Palms at Wailea condo, you are NOT in the evacuation zone (you do not need to evacuate).

If you need to evacuate:

  • pack your valuables and documents.
  • pack food and drink, a flashlight and blanket. Bring some beach chairs along too, evacuations can take a while.
  • close windows and lock the condo behind you.
  • head out of the evacuation zone. There are churches (Kihei Lutheran and Hope Chapel) along the Piilani Hwy that open their parking lots to those who need to evacuate. I’ve also been told the Safeway parking lot becomes a town party. County shelters don’t open until after a tsunami has occurred.
  • do not return into the evacuation area until officials give the go-ahead. Remember, it isn’t just one tidal wave, they come in sets for several hours. If there is damage, it may not be safe to go back – so please wait.

If you are not in the evacuation zone:

  • avoid unnecessary driving (the roads get really clogged).
  • make sure you have working flash lights (there is always the possibility of a power outage).
  • make sure you have lots of drinking water and also water to wash (clean and fill the bathtub for non-drinking water purposes).
  • listen to the local news – before the tsunami wave is expected to arrive, the County shuts down the sanitary sewer system. Avoid using the toilet once that happens – when the sanitary sewer is shut down, all sewer will go directly into the ocean.

    It will be very difficult to find local Maui specific tsunami information. Most of the news will be about Oahu (this is frustrating).
     

    Please do not put your life and that of others (who may have to save you) at risk by going to the beach to watch!

    Here is a great list of frequently asked questions from the Pacific Tsunami Warning Center.

    Here is a cute and yet informational video from San Diego County explaining about tsunamis (use this link if it doesn’t load).

    Comment »

    April is Tsunami Awareness Month

    April is Tsunami Awareness Month in Hawaii. The likelihood of there being a tsunami while you are on holiday is very slim, and yet, it’s a good idea to know what to expect.

    Tsunamis are caused by displacement of ocean water, usually by earthquakes. There are two types of tsunamis – those caused by a local earthquake and those caused by earthquakes far away.

    If it is a local earthquake and you are at the beach, there will be little time for warning. Here are the signs to look for:

    • sudden pulling back of the water
    • earth moving for at least 20 seconds, possibly knocking people to the ground
    • hearing the ocean roar

    If you experience any of these while at the beach, you should move away from the beach to at least 100 feet above sea level (one mile inland or in a pinch at least to the fourth floor of an apartment building). If it is a local earthquake, the tsunami waves could arrive within minutes.

    If it is a far away earthquake, there will be more warning time. The NOAA Pacific Tsunami Warning Center tracks all earthquakes and monitors their DART buoys for possible tsunamis. Should there be a tsunami headed our way, they issue alerts via local media (radio, local TV stations etc). You can find warnings on facebook and twitter (try hashtag #hitsunami).

    The most obvious warning will come from the tsunami sirens located wherever there is danger of flooding (if you are in a remote location, there may not be a siren). When there is a tsunami warning, these will start wailing (steady three minute tone), fortunately not non-stop but at regular intervals (note: there is a monthly emergency systems test the first day of every month at 11:45 – don’t panic!) If the sirens start wailing, listen to the local news and follow their directions. Warnings will always tell you when the first tidal wave is expected to arrive. Please listen to these warnings and obey them.

    How do you know if you are in an evacuation area? Here are two evacuation maps for Kihei/Wailea, you can also look on the County of Maui website in the phone book (we have them in all our condos). If you are staying in our Kihei Surfside and Sugar Beach condos, you are in the evacuation area. If you are staying at our Maui Kamaole or Palms at Wailea condo, you are NOT in the evacuation zone (you do not need to evacuate).

    If you need to evacuate:

    • pack your valuables and documents.
    • pack food and drink, a flashlight and blanket. Bring some beach chairs along too, evacuations can take a while.
    • close windows and lock the condo behind you.
    • head out of the evacuation zone. There are churches (Kihei Lutheran and Hope Chapel) along the Piilani Hwy that open their parking lots to those who need to evacuate. I’ve also been told the Safeway parking lot becomes a town party. County shelters don’t open until after a tsunami has occurred.
    • do not return into the evacuation area until officials give the go-ahead. Remember, it isn’t just one tidal wave, they come in sets for several hours. If there is damage, it may not be safe to go back – so please wait.

    If you are not in the evacuation zone:

    • avoid unnecessary driving (the roads get really clogged).
    • make sure you have working flash lights (there is always the possibility of a power outage).
    • make sure you have lots of drinking water and also water to wash (clean and fill the bathtub for non-drinking water purposes).
    • listen to the local news – before the tsunami wave is expected to arrive, the County shuts down the sanitary sewer system. Avoid using the toilet once that happens – when the sanitary sewer is shut down, all sewer will go directly into the ocean.

    It will be very difficult to find local Maui specific tsunami information. Most of the news will be about Oahu (this is frustrating).
     

    Please do not put your life and that of others (who may have to save you) at risk by going to the beach to watch!

    Here is a great list of frequently asked questions from the Pacific Tsunami Warning Center.

    Here is a cute and yet informational video from San Diego County explaining about tsunamis (use this link if it doesn’t load).

    Comment »