Maui Dodges the Worst of Fukushima Earthquake Tsunami

A Giant Tsunami luckily missed our beautiful Island March 11, 2011. Maui experienced surges that caused damage; but primarily in our Harbors where deep channels effect intensity and height of water events. A few miles from the Inn, the Kahului Harbor saw a 6 foot surge at 3:40 am which pushed water about 1/3 mile inland to wet the toes of Walgreen’s on Puunene Avenue. (Google Map Walgreen’s Store, Kahului to see the harbor and extent of surge.)The Old Wailuku Inn is not in the Tsunami Inundation Zone. We are sufficiently inland and higher elevation to avoid ever being affected by a Tsunami of any magnitude. Once we were informed about 8:15 pm we started our disaster Preparation plan. Mainly stocking water for drinking and managing toilets in case of shortage, preparing flashlights, radios etc.

All ten of our rooms were occupied that night with 20 people total under our care. At about 9:15 pm when the Alert changed to a Warning (that a wave is coming) we began our procedure to find and alert our guests. We were successful in reaching each of them by 10:00 pm. Upon reaching them, we advised them to return to the Inn and stay on the property where they would be safe. We would advise them when the all clear was sounded to ensure their safety.

By 10:30 pm all guests were secure in their rooms, in plenty of time for the 2:59 am anticipated Wave arrival. Tsunami Wave Alert sirens were sounded every half and hour from 10:00 pm by Maui Civil defense.We had many comments about how efficiently Maui County and the Visitor Industry managed the safety and evacuation of our visitors in The Old Wailuku Inn is not in the Tsunami Inundation Zone. We are sufficiently inland and higher elevation to avoid ever being affected by a Tsunami of any magnitude.

Once we were informed about 8:15 pm we started our disaster Preparation plan. Mainly stocking water for drinking and managing toilets in case of shortage, preparing flashlights, radios etc. All ten of our rooms were occupied that night with 20 people total under our care. At about 9:15 pm when the Alert changed to a Warning (that a wave is coming) we began our procedure to find and alert our guests. We were successful in reaching each of them by 10:00 pm. Upon reaching them, we advised them to return to the Inn and stay on the property where they would be safe. We would advise them when the all clear was sounded to ensure their safety. By 10:30 pm all guests were secure in their rooms, in plenty of time for the 2:59 am anticipated Wave arrival. Tsunami Wave Alert sirens were sounded every half and hour from 10:00 pm by Maui Civil defense.

We had many comments about how efficiently Maui County and the Visitor Industry managed the safety and evacuation of our visitors in preparation of this potential disaster. Everyone in Tsunami inundation areas was evacuated by 1:00 am a full one and a half hours prior to anticipated landfall of the wave.

Today waters around our shores continue to recede exposing the ocean floor and then refill without coming onto shore. This will continue for a week or so, as the natural ebb and flows have been disrupted by the seismic event in Japan, making the ordeal more real. Our visitors are in awe as they get to observe how a real tsunami acts. And grateful that we were all spared a disaster, that so many in Japan continue to suffer from.

For more information visit Maui News for images and details around the Island of Maui.