Major Tsunami Not Expected in Hawaii, Sea Level Changes Forecast

September 16, 2015, 1:15 PM HST · Updated September 17, 1:23 PM
Wendy Osher · 0 Comments
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UPDATE: 1:05 p.m. 9/17/15: The Pacific Tsunami Warning Center has issued its final tsunami message for Hawaii saying that based on all available data, the tsunami threat from yesterday’s 8.3 Chile earthquake has now mostly passed. Any remaining threat will be evaluated by local authorities in impacted areas. Click here for the full update.

UPDATE 7:33 a.m. 9/17/15: The Pacific Tsunami Warning Center cancelled the tsunami advisory that was in effect for the state, ending the advisory at 7:33 a.m.  The agency reported the largest wave to be 3.2 feet, occurring shortly after 4 a.m. in Hilo on the Big Island of Hawaii. In Kahului on Maui a tsunami wave of 1.2 feet was reported at 3:53 a.m.; and a 2.2 foot wave was recorded at 4:35 a.m. according to preliminary data compiled by the Pacific Tsunami Warning Center. Wave activity was occurring in 18 to 22 minute intervals.  Click here for the full update.

Meteorologist Malika Dudley explains the difference between a tsunami watch, advisory and warning.

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Click here for information on closures in coastal areas and beach parks.

By Wendy Osher

The Hawaii Emergency Management Agency has issued a Tsunami Advisory for the state effective at 3:23 p.m.  This replaces a Tsunami Watch that was issued earlier this afternoon following an 8.3 (7.9 preliminary magnitude) earthquake at 12:54 p.m. HST on Wednesday, Sept. 16, 2015 near the coast of Central Chile.

The agency issued a notification saying, “BASED ON ALL AVAILABLE DATA A MAJOR TSUNAMI IS NOT EXPECTED TO STRIKE THE STATE OF HAWAII. HOWEVER…SEA LEVEL CHANGES AND STRONG CURRENTS MAY OCCUR ALONG ALL COASTS THAT COULD BE A HAZARD TO SWIMMERS AND BOATERS AS WELL AS TO PERSONS NEAR THE SHORE AT BEACHES AND IN HARBORS AND MARINAS. THE THREAT MAY CONTINUE FOR SEVERAL HOURS AFTER THE INITIAL WAVE ARRIVAL.”

The estimated time of wave arrival and anticipated effects is 3:06 a.m. HST on Thursday, September 17, 2015. Waves reaching 0.3 to one meter (one to three feet) are possible for Hawaii coastlines.

A Tsunami Advisory is issued when the threat of a tsunami may produce strong currents or waves dangerous to those in or near the water.

“We ask the public to be mindful of their designated tsunami evacuation sites and to stay tuned to radio and TV broadcasts for the latest information and instructions from county officials,” said Vern Miyagi, Administrator of Emergency Management.

The following is a list of measurements and reports of tsunami wave activity (compiled by the Pacific Tsunami Warning Center) as of 1:11 a.m. on Thursday, Sept. 17, 2015:

 GAUGE LOCATION LAT LON TIME AMPL PER ------------------- ----- ------ ----- --------------- ----- PAPEETE TAHITI 17.5S 149.6W 1041Z 0.10M / 0.3FT 12MIN SALINA CRUZ MX 16.2N 95.2W 1017Z 0.22M / 0.7FT 20MIN RIKITEA PF 23.1S 135.0W 0930Z 0.34M / 1.1FT 16MIN CALLAO LA-PUNTA PE 12.1S 77.2W 0740Z 0.52M / 1.7FT 34MIN PURETO ANGEL MX 15.7N 96.5W 0911Z 0.30M / 1.0FT 04MIN CHIAPAS MX 14.7N 92.4W 0905Z 0.19M / 0.6FT 26MIN NUKU HIVA MARQUESAS 8.9S 140.1W 1006Z 0.68M / 2.2FT 14MIN RIKITEA PF 23.1S 135.0W 0908Z 0.33M / 1.1FT 14MIN HUATULCO MX 15.8N 96.1W 0809Z 0.18M / 0.6FT 08MIN CALDERA CL 27.1S 70.8W 0728Z 1.14M / 3.7FT 18MIN VALPARAISO CL 33.0S 71.6W 0044Z 1.78M / 5.8FT 40MIN MATARANI PE 17.0S 72.1W 0653Z 0.22M / 0.7FT 20MIN JUAN FERNANDEZ 33.6S 78.8W 0038Z 1.21M / 4.0FT 08MIN SANTACRUZ GALAPAGOS 0.7S 90.3W 0643Z 0.56M / 1.8FT 12MIN DART 43413 10.8N 100.1W 0639Z 0.02M / 0.1FT 40MIN DART 32411 5.0N 90.8W 0517Z 0.03M / 0.1FT 48MIN EASTER CL 27.2S 109.4W 0505Z 0.83M / 2.7FT 04MIN COQUIMBO CL 30.0S 71.3W 0025Z 4.75M / 15.6FT 20MIN DART 32402 26.7S 74.0W 2334Z 0.10M / 0.3FT 32MIN QUIRIQUINA CL 36.6S 73.1W 0249Z 0.83M / 2.7FT 88MIN TALCAHUANO CL 36.7S 73.1W 0253Z 1.30M / 4.3FT 90MIN DART 32412 18.0S 86.3W 0146Z 0.05M / 0.2FT 20MIN BUCALEMU CL 34.6S 72.0W 0246Z 0.76M / 2.5FT 12MIN HUASCO CL 28.5S 71.2W 0106Z 0.77M / 2.5FT 12MIN SAN FELIX CL 26.3S 80.1W 0051Z 0.69M / 2.3FT 08MIN CONSTITUCION CL 35.4S 72.5W 0124Z 0.88M / 2.9FT 60MIN CORRAL CL 39.9S 73.4W 0124Z 0.22M / 0.7FT 34MIN TOCOPILLA CL 22.1S 70.2W 0046Z 0.12M / 0.4FT 38MIN CHANARAL CL 26.4S 70.6W 0043Z 1.09M / 3.6FT 30MIN TALTAL CL 25.4S 70.5W 0018Z 0.25M / 0.8FT 38MIN DART 32401 20.5S 73.4W 0020Z 0.06M / 0.2FT 48MIN SAN ANTONIO CL 33.6S 71.6W 2358Z 0.86M / 2.8FT 18MIN

According to the USGS, the quake was centered:

  1. 46km (29 mi) W of Illapel, Chile
  2. 68km (42 mi) WNW of Salamanca, Chile
  3. 104km (65 mi) NNW of La Ligua, Chile
  4. 116km (72 mi) SSW of Ovalle, Chile
  5. 228km (142 mi) NNW of Santiago, Chile
  6. ______________

County specific information:

Please be advised that the Maui County Budget Meeting for South Maui has been canceled because of the tsunami watch from the Chile earthquake today. The meeting had been scheduled for 5:30 p.m. at the Kihei Community Center.

*** Please Check back for additional updates.  We will continue to update this post as additional information becomes available.

Earlier Video Updates:

Chile Earthquake Sept. 16, 2015. Image credit: Pacific Tsunami Warning Center.

Chile Earthquake Sept. 16, 2015. Image credit: Pacific Tsunami Warning Center.

Wendy Osher
Wendy Osher leads the Maui Now news team. She is also the news voice of parent company, Pacific Media Group, having served nearly 20 years as News Director for the company’s six Maui radio stations.

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