Posted by: Cross Country Couple | March 11, 2011

How I heard about the Tsunami Warning in Hawaii

As the clock struck midnight, I decided to check craigslist one more time before heading to bed.  My boyfriend and I just moved to Maui a month and a half ago from Massachusetts, and I have made a habit of checking the site in hopes of accumulating some furniture for our new place.  Under the free section, I was surprised to see a listing called “Tsunami warning !” Interested, but skeptical, I clicked to read the following ad:

I was still skeptical, but moved enough to mention it to my boyfriend, Matt.  We haven’t got our cable hooked up yet, and as such had not seen anything on the news.  Matt instantly got up and went over to his computer to investigate.  Below are some of the sites where we found our information:

CNN Videos of Tsunami in Japan:

Hawaii News:

Reuters – Hawaii Orders Evacuations:

The earthquake that struck Japan on the morning of Friday, March 11, 2011 was the biggest in 140 years. The quake triggered tsunami waves of up to 30 feet, large enough to sweep away homes, vehicles and cause fires. At the moment, there is a tsunami warning issued for all of Hawaii and the civil defense officials have ordered the evacuation of all Hawaiian coastal areas. The safety area is extended to at least 100 feet inland and 50 feet above sea level.

Just as the news was settling in, our new landlord knocked at our door. He came to share the information of the earthquake and tsunami warnings. He also recommended we stock up on water, candles, flashlights, and other supplies. The county is shutting down the wastewater plants and asking everyone to only use water when necessary. At our new home, we have well water, but if we lose power we will still lose water. So, I spent the next 45 minutes washing all the dishes and filling all the gallon jugs we had (4 total – I hope that’s enough!). Funny how my reaction to all this is to make sure we wont be stuck with a pile of dirty dishes for the next few days. For the most part, I think it was more about keeping my mind and hands busy while trying to absorb the information of the possible tsunami. After the dishes were clean, the water jugs filled, and the batteries all charged, I turned to writing this post.

Tsunamis are completely unfamiliar to me and I’m ok keeping it that way. Matt’s dying to go out and try to catch a glimpse of the destructive waves as they hit land here in Maui. The estimated time of arrival of a potential tsunami at the harbor in Kahului is 3:23 AM.

By 1:15 AM, my father sent me a text message, “Hey R U OK? Tsunami warning in 2 hours from now. Make sure you are in high ground.” To which I promptly replied I was fine at an elevation of 600′. The time difference between Maui and Massachusetts is 5 hours. I can only imagine my father waking up at 6:00 AM and wandering down to the living to watch the morning news. Then, upon hearing of the devastating earthquake and subsequent tsunami warning, rushing to his cell phone to send that message.

A message to all my family and friends: We are safe and sound, and I will keep you all updated as best I can.

What would you do to prepare for a tsunami warning?



  1. Hi Danielle,
    I was thinking that this morning..what would I do.
    1. Grab medicines (probably not an issue for you.. as a diabetic it is an issue for me)
    2. Get the dog on his leash
    3. Money
    4. Gas for the car
    5. Water
    6. go to higher ground with: blankets, pillows, dog food (very important!), cell phone, cell phone charger (oh yeah, no electricity probably), laptop or tablet,
    7. Very important: hand held, non electric, can opener!!!

    That’s the minimum. My nephew’s wife, Michiko, is from Japan. Her family is there, but I think they all live in the far Southern tip of Japan. Hopefully They’re ok. I don’t think Keith, Michiko and their little one are in Hawaii right now.
    good luck.

    • It was a funny coincidence that we happened to have filled our gas tank earlier today (at $4.19/gal). Glad to hear your nephew’s wife and Keith’s families are all ok. As always, its great to hear from you!

  2. Screw the dishes. Stay safe!

    • I know, right?! But it gave me time to realize that we weren’t in any real danger because we live at a much higher elevation and just about 1 mile inland.

  3. Hi Danielle,

    I too woke up to Good Morning America news and learned of the Tsunami and quake in Japan, heading for Hawaii and the West Coast. I thought of you, glad to hear you both are safe and well! You look great!


  4. Hi Danielle
    What part of Maui are you on? 100′ isn’t very far inland and so I’d want to know how far I am from the coastline. In SD, I am 7 miles, so I’d be covered. I’d do what landlord recommended and prepare to camp out for a few days w/o Walmart. Stay safe and don’t worry…XO Janet

    • Hey Janet! We are about 1 mile inland and at 600′ elevation here. Definitely in the clear.

  5. I live in tornado country. Every summer, we go into the basement for atleast one tornado event. I keep extra flashlights, snacks and card games around. You never know when you are going to have to be down there for a while.

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