Our perfect storm is: the current advisory level 15 foot surf, a pushing high+ tide, and tsunami all on approach.
We prepare for the worst, and hope for the best of course. Indo and Japan left lasting impressions on our Ring of Fire psyche. Most of the time, these tsunami warnings lead us to staring at a barely rising shoreline. #Failnami
Still, the last manini tsunami swell that hit Hawai’i from the Japan quake didn’t look like much when it arrived (a few feet), yet caused millions in damage at the harbors. This is forecast to be larger but it all depends on where and what angle it hits (looks like Maui may get the brunt; while Honolulu traffic may be the real nightmare).
Yup, Hawai’i is easily the most prepared state in terms of tsunami drills, with the Pacific Tsunami Warning Center operating on the ‘better safe then sorry’ motto (perhaps partly inspired by a lack of funding to release new buoys / repair broken buoys). For the record, I prefer being prepared for the just in case.
The DART tsunami warning system, which often gets less than stellar reviews, received the message something was a’brewin (but with a lack of data it supposedly took a while for them to call the tsunami due to confusion over the epicenter. I’m guessing we will likely get more details of this in the days to come).
Basically the DART system reads the seismic waves, which travel around 11,000km/hr as well as the tsunami waves, which travel at 800km/hr.
Note the red mark indicated the moment that sparked the buoy event. The Hawai’i buoy went off within approximately 30 minutes of Alaska.
Station 46410 South Cordova, AK
Station 51407 Kailua-Kona, HI
Wait, back to surfing…. One thing surfers are going to bed concerned about is whether this will effect their morning session (call us focused). The early winter advisory swell in effect at present is going to be quite enticing. Keep in mind: The last few tsunamis did bring in interesting deep water creatures (including a Great White). Yeah, that’s a random tidbit. But seriously, if you do paddle out after a tsunami, check that the advisory or warning has passed and be conscious of the continuing surges that create strong currents and rips, which often last for days after the event. Be safe!