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My Tsunami Experience – March 2011 – Maui, Hawaii

It was a Thursday night, March 10th, 2011. Our family, together with our dear friends the Thorpes, were sitting all together on our couch watching “Mega Mind” when my husband’s phone rang.  The phone call was from our friend Stu. Brad stepped outside to talk to him.  We paused the DVD and waited for Brad to come back and join us.  But when he came back, watching  “Mega Mind” wasn’t that all interesting anymore because he came back with the news that there’s a “tsunami alert” on Hawaii due to the 8.8 earthquake in Japan.

As soon as I heard that, I ran upstairs to grab my computer and logged in to Twitter.  Sure enough, my twitter friends were already alerting me about it.  One look at the Twitter stream showed that this tsunami alert is serious – the tweets about Japan’s horrendous disaster were all over Twitter.  A hashtag was already formed for Hawaii: #HITsunami.

I quickly copied the link leading to a website that has the most updated information on the #HITsunami and posted it on my Facebook wall so my family and friends will know our situation.  Soon after, a friend of mine, Megan, posted a thank you on my wall.  She said she came to FB to look for current information on the tsunami and right away she saw the link I posted.  I love how all these social media tools work in times like this.

I went back to Twitter to get the recent updates while at the same time started putting water in containers in case water gets shut down.  It is interesting to note that I am  calmer this time than the last time we experienced this alert when the Chile earthquake happened last year. This time I did not have the urge to move out of our house and evacuate right away.  We stayed put and did whatever best way we can to prepare for the possible disaster.

We all knew it’s going to be a loooong night. The ETA for tsunami’s arrival on Maui was 2:59AM the next day.  I can’t remember what time when we first heard about it, but at one point I remember glancing at the clock and it was around 9pm. The rest of the night were spent monitoring the situation via internet.  Brad was on the phone coordinating for his work (he works with the County of Maui).

Around 12 midnight, I was tired and sleepy so I decided to take a short nap.  At 2am I was awakened by the tsunami warning siren and so I got up to once again monitor the situation.  Logged in to Twitter and clicked the #HItsunami hashtag for the lastest news.  I have to mention here how touching it is to be getting tweets from my twitter friends from all over the world telling me that we are in their thoughts and prayers.  The support is overwhelming.

As we all know by now, the big tsunami did not happen on Maui.  There was a 5.7 feet wave that hit Kahului but the damage is minimal compared to that of Japan. Maui Time Feed has more photos in their site.  Big Island also experienced an earthquake and tsunami experience similar to Maui. My  friend Cynthia from the Big Island blogged about her experience and we can read it here.

Words cannot describe the heartbreak we are feeling for Japan right now. There are various ways to help and so I encourage all of us to do so. One example is through Redcross: Txt REDCROSS to 90999 to make a $10 donation to #Japan eq & Pacific #tsunami relief. http://bit.ly/eZJDoJ .

I went back to bed around 5am and woke up again around 8am.  Very thankful that the huge tsunami did not come.  As my friend Peter said  his post, “Keep in mind, what you really want at times like this is for it to be a non-event.” and we’re glad it was.

UPDATED: I just found this You Tube Video of the Tsunami here on Maui.  It was put together nicely. I am sure you would enjoy watching this (nice song in the background too) so I decided to embed this here:

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