Update Thursday at 5:20 PM Eastern Time: The Pacific Tsunami Warning Center has cancelled this tsunami watch, stating that further analysis of all available data indicates there is no tsunami threat to the state of Hawaii.
A series of strong earthquakes off the coast of New Zealand has prompted tsunami watches to be issued for Hawaii, including on the island of Oahu, home to Aulani, a Disney Resort and Spa.
Oahu Emergency Management advises that the full threat is still being assessed, but those who are in an evacuation zone should monitor the situation and be prepared to evacuate should a warning be issued. As seen in the graphic below, the beach area at Aulani is in the so-called “tsunami evacuation zone” (shown in red), which reflects the typical area of danger based on the past 100 years or so of tsunami history in the state. The resort building itself is in the less-likely “extreme tsunami evacuation zone” (shown in yellow), which reflects tsunami activity associated only with the most extreme events.
Tsunami waves typically take many hours to travel across the Pacific following a far-away earthquake, and the first waves to arrive (IF they do indeed arrive) would be expected around 4:35 PM HST (or 9:35 PM Eastern Time).
Aulani remains in a phased reopening following the COVID-19 closure.
BULLETIN TSUNAMI MESSAGE NUMBER 2 NWS PACIFIC TSUNAMI WARNING CENTER EWA BEACH HI 1024 AM HST THU MAR 04 2021 TO - EMERGENCY MANAGEMENT IN THE STATE OF HAWAII SUBJECT - TSUNAMI WATCH SUPPLEMENT A TSUNAMI WATCH CONTINUES IN EFFECT FOR THE STATE OF HAWAII. AN EARTHQUAKE HAS OCCURRED WITH THESE PRELIMINARY PARAMETERS ORIGIN TIME - 0928 AM HST 04 MAR 2021 COORDINATES - 29.6 SOUTH 176.0 WEST LOCATION - KERMADEC ISLANDS REGION MAGNITUDE - 8.1 MOMENT EVALUATION BASED ON ALL AVAILABLE DATA A TSUNAMI MAY HAVE BEEN GENERATED BY THIS EARTHQUAKE THAT COULD BE DESTRUCTIVE ON COASTAL AREAS EVEN FAR FROM THE EPICENTER. AN INVESTIGATION IS UNDERWAY TO DETERMINE IF THERE IS A TSUNAMI THREAT TO HAWAII. IF TSUNAMI WAVES IMPACT HAWAII THE ESTIMATED EARLIEST ARRIVAL OF THE FIRST TSUNAMI WAVE IS 0435 PM HST THU 04 MAR 2021 FURTHER MESSAGES WILL BE ISSUED HOURLY OR SOONER AS CONDITIONS WARRANT UNTIL THE THREAT TO HAWAII HAS PASSED.
Image Credits: Disney, Honolulu Department of Emergency Management ARCGIS