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Hawaii Tsunami Smaller Than Feared; Advisory Canceled

By: Associated Press
By: Associated Press

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UPDATE: Sunday, October 28, 2012

Officials in Hawaii have canceled a tsunami advisory for the state's coastline, paving the way for beaches and harbors to reopen after widespread fears of waves generated from a powerful earthquake off the coast of Canada.

The Pacific Tsunami Warning Center lifted its tsunami advisory early Sunday just before 4 a.m. local time, three hours after downgrading from a warning and less than six hours after the waves first hit the islands.

The biggest waves -- about 5 feet high -- appeared to hit Maui. A popular triathlon set for the island was expected to go on as planned, with an ocean swim.

There are no immediate reports of damage, though one person died in a fatal crash near a road that was closed because of the threat.

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Hawaii Gov. Neil Abercrombie says a tsunami warning that spurred coastal evacuations statewide is being downgraded to a tsunami advisory, ending the threat of serious damage.

Abercrombie said early Sunday that the Aloha State was lucky to avoid more severe surges after a powerful earthquake struck off the coast of Canada.

Abercrombie says beaches and harbors are still closed statewide.

Meanwhile, the National Weather Service canceled tsunami advisories for Canada and Oregon, leaving northern California as the only spot in North America still under a tsunami advisory.

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A geologist tracking a tsunami in Hawaii says the first waves hitting shore are smaller than expected.

Gerard Fryer of the Pacific Tsunami Warning Center said Saturday night the largest wave was measured at 5 feet in Maui in the first 45 minutes.

Fryer says it's starting to look like a statewide evacuation from coastal areas was unnecessary. But it could be several hours before the warning is canceled.

The National Weather Service says there are reports of water quickly receding in bays, including Hilo Bay on the Big Island.

Tsunami waves are stronger and different from normal beach waves. Fryer says 3-foot tsunami waves would be strong enough to flood two blocks in from shore.

The warning comes after a powerful magnitude 7.7 earthquake struck off the coast of Canada.


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