A tsunami advisory was issued for the state of Hawaii at 5:45 p.m. Tuesday following an 8.2 magnitude earthquake off the coast of Chile, according to the Pacific Tsunami Warning Center.
Based on all available data, a major tsunami was not expected to hit 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,” according to a release. “The threat may continue for several hours after the initial wave arrival.”
Hawaii County officials have closed all county beach parks until 8 a.m. today to ensure the safety of beachgoers.
The estimated time of arrival for the initial wave was 3:24 a.m., according to the Tuesday afternoon advisory. The release added that the potential threat could remain for several hours after the initial wave arrival.
“There’s nothing giving an indication of anything destructive as a result of the wave,” Hawaii County Civil Defense Administrator Darryl Oliveira said.
Oliveira explained that the issuing of the advisory had taken an unusually long amount of time after the 1:47 p.m. reporting of the earthquake.
“My understanding is that they (the Pacific Tsunami Warning Center) want to be as accurate as they can,” he said. “They are analyzing data from the deep sea buoys off the coast of South America, and they wanted to give time to capture data from them. I realize it’s been frustrating for the community. We have already initiated proactive measures, and we’ve been contacting people along the coast that could be impacted, such as fishermen.”
Meanwhile, Civil Defense officials reported that three tsunami warning sirens failed to sound Tuesday during the county’s regularly scheduled siren test.
The affected sirens were located in Laupahoehoe, Kawaihae and Alii Kai.
Email Colin M. Stewart at email@example.com.