|The tsunami sent waves onto Punalu`u Beach, filling the pond, leaving stands of water and debris, but sparing the buildings.|
|A yard at Punalu'u filled with water .|
Campers at Punalu‘u Beach Park were cleared last night and the 76 Punalu‘u condominiums were evacuated by 2 a.m. Manager Dianne Naski said the resort was 75 percent occupied with about 100 guests who gave their full cooperation. She thanked the Hawai‘i Police Department, Hawai‘i Fire Department and Civil Defense for calling repeatedly and arriving on the scene to offer help. Evacuees stayed overnight at Civil Defense shelters at Pahala and Na‘alehu Community Centers. They returned to the condos around 10 a.m. this morning. As the tsunami waves failed to reach the resort, inland from the beach, there was no damage.
Campers, condo evacuees and motorists along Hwy 11 who were stopped at inundation zones, added up to some 55 people staying in Na‘alehu and 20 in Pahala shelters overnight, said county spokesman Hunter Bishop.
|All beach parks are closed today due to the tsunami that hit early this morning. Dangerous areas were taped off.|
Last night Ka‘u Hospital went into its disaster mode with the health care association’s emergency management network. Hospital administrator Merilyn Harris said the hospital, civil defense and other hospitals across the state were in constant communication. The clinic was closed for the morning but set to open this afternoon. Overnight, some hospital staff living at Punalu‘u took shelter at Pahala Plantation Cottages. The Bay Clinic in Na‘alehu remained closed today.
Paramedics were seen along Hwy 11 this morning talking to Kawa resident Abel Lui, but there is no word of injuries or damage at Kawa. The ambulance was used in helping to warn people along the shoreline to evacuate before the tsunami waves hit.
Mayor Billy Kenoi said the island is fortunate in that major infrastructure at ports and airports were spared and that damage was limited. However, water did wash into the grounds of Hilo hotels and through the lobby of the King Kamehameha Hotel in Kona. Along Ali‘i Drive in Kona, Hulihee Palace, just repaired from major earthquake damage, was hit this time by water from the tsunami filling its basement. Pavement on Ali‘i Drive along the seawall is buckled and broken and likely undermined. There were reports of restaurant furniture from establishments along Ali‘i Drive floating out to sea. Also reported was at least one structure sucked into the bay at Napo‘opo‘o.
|Police blocked traffic above the Punalu'u condos and Ka`u's beach parks through mid-morning today.Visitors and residents stayed in shelters overnight.|
The Big Island mayor said he is concentrating on helping Japanese visitors to be comfortable while they are here. His said his wife has just returned from Japan. Flights to Hawai‘i from Japan were cancelled this morning by Continental Airlines, simply because people couldn’t make it to the airport from Tokyo.
Hilo Airport reopened at 8:15 this morning for Neighbor Island flights. Musicians coming to Ka‘u for the Bluegrass Meets Pili Grass workshop and concert were stranded on Maui, hoping to make there way here for classes and a concert tomorrow at Pahala Plantation House.
A 4.5 EARTHQUAKE hit the east rim of Kilauea this morning, followed by a series of small quakes, but none of them related to the tsunami and Japan quake, scientists said.
KAHU RADIO, 91.7 received its upgrade yesterday, with new emergency radio capabilities, before the Japan quake sent a tsunami our way. Messages from Civil Defense were broadcast during the tsunami warning consistently throughout the night on KAHU, the Shepherd, Ka‘u’s only public radio station. Founder and General Manager Wendell Ka‘ehu‘a‘ea said the radio team is excited the equipment is in place to broadcast the Civil Defense messages, “but we never imagined that it would be put to use so quickly.”