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All Islands Health Talk Shake and Bake- Hawaii's Earthquake wakes up locals and vacationers alike

Shake and Bake- Hawaii's Earthquake wakes up locals and vacationers alike
Kalahikiola Church in North Kohala Kona

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Sunday morning's Hawaii earthquake was felt from Hawi - on the North tip of the Big Island, only miles from the epicenter, all the way to the top of Koke'e in Kauai, over 400 miles away.

Remarkably, no one was seriously injured. The historic Hoea sugar mill smoke stack, an icon for Hawi ias well as a statue commerating King Kamehameha I came tumbling down, as did dishes, books, televisions sets and pictures on the wall.

Structural damage was caused by leaking water pipes on one Kona resort hotel, and guests were evacuated until damage could be better assessed.

The historic stone Kalahikiola Church in North Kohala Kona (pictured) was damaged, and roads on both sides of Hana (on Maui) remain closed due to rock slides and road debris.

The quake hit at 7:07 a.m. local time Sunday, 10 kilometres north-northwest of Kailua-Kona, a town on the west coast of Hawaii Island, also known as the Big Island, said Don Blakeman of the National Earthquake Information Center, part of the U.S. Geological Survey.

The earthquake was followed by several strong aftershocks on Sunday, including one measuring a magnitude of 5.8, the USGS said. Forecasters said there was no danger of a tsunami, though surfer's in the water reported that they too, felt the quake. The quake co-incided with flash flood warnings acoss the state, increasing the risk of mudslides and road closures.

Earthquakes in the 6.0 magnitude range are rare in the region, although the Big Island frequently feels temblors in the 3- and 4-magnitude range caused by the active volcano.''

"If you're going to have an earthquake, you couldn't have had it at a better time _ early in the morning when people aren't even out of their homes yet," Curtis said. "I think people, under the circumstances, have remained very calm."

Visitors and employees of hotels along the Kona -Kohala coast were immediately affected. Hawaii's govenor was staying near the epicenter at the Mauna Lani Hotel "The jolt itself was intense. It threw everything in the hotel room around the room -- the television, lamps, everything. I thought that was it, then a second jolt, not equal, was very intense. It sent the television, everything flying. That time we evacuated to the Kona police station," Lingle said.

Maunakea Hotel chef Steve Taylor grabbed a co-worker and pulled her into the doorway and described the building as " it was shaking violently".

Further south along the Kona side of the island a chunk of the mountain (near the area overlooking the Captain Cook monument) at Kealakekua Bay slide into the bay and there was dust reported from landslides." "Well, at the Dragon Fly we lost some glasses from the kitchen shelves" said Barbara Moore, proprietor of Kealekekua's Big Island's Dragon Fly Ranch. Snorkelers reported broken coral heads at Two Step, a favorite underwater dive and swimming area near Pu'uhonua o Honaunau National Historic Park, revealing that earthquakes affect structures under water as much as those above. Landslides also were noted from the Waimea Valley overlook on the Big Island.

In addition to earthquake damage, Hawaiians know from experience that earthquakes can cause damaging tidal waves, and an early warning system is in place throughout the Hawaiian islands.

The quakes did generate a 3-inch tsunami that washed ashore on the west side of the Big Island, according to the Pacific Tsunami Warning Center.

With power outages, those who live on along coastal waters had to use battery powered radios to catch the civil defense warning about possibility of tsunamis, often generated by earthquakes.

One surfer recounts his earthquake experience "After the first big quake on Sunday morning, some of the surfers got back in their cars listening to the car radio for the tsunami report.

Michael Saiz said "After the power went out, so we went out to the garage and got the battery powered emergency radio to listen to the Civil Defense in case a tsunami warning was being issued.We did a walk-through of the entire house making notes of things we would take with us in case the tsunami sirens came on. We reviewed our "Head for the High land" tsunami evacuation plan, including a backup plan in case the bridge across the river had gone down, and also where we would meet in case we were separated. " Katherine Fisher said. "It's a really useful exercise, I recommend the drill it to everyone, it will inspire you to prioritize, and communicate to your family what you value, whether it is precious family photos, your computer backup drive, or in this instance, it was a box of hand written song lyrics in the back of a closet Michael had composed in the 1980's. "

In addition to protecting family members and heirlooms, it is important to have emergency supplies on hand, including flashlights and batteries, and a back up radio or better yet, hand generated flashlights and radios, as well as food stocks, fresh water and an emergency plan. "This brings to forefront the need for people to have 72 hours' worth of supplies to keep them going" after a quake, said Kim Walz, a spokeswoman with the Federal Emergency Management Agency.

Residents should state and county resources to get tips to devise a plan of their own, said Alfred Darling, spokesman for the Kaua‘i Red Cross.

And residents need to think beyond evacuating, Darling said.

“If you’re living along the shore and your plan is to get into your car and drive to higher ground, you need to remember there’s going to be gridlock,” he said.

Because of that, savvy plans could include bicycling or walking to an area that has higher ground. FEMA recommends an elevation that is at least 100 feet.

Also, residents should have a plan that extends beyond what to do if the emergency happens while they are at home, but also while they are at work, school or running errands, he said.

“The bottom line is, it matters not where you live, but where you are when it happens,” he said. That includes having a plan in place that takes into account how family members would meet without cell phones or electricity, he said. “Have a written agreement of where you would go and how, and practice your plan,” he said.

It takes more then an earthquake, even one measuring 6.6 to keep the Iron Man Triatheletes from staying on the training routines. Thighs of steel and determined faces were seen whizzing down the highways of the Big Island as the weekend race approaches. Not all the athletes are training no the Big Island yet, a few incoming athletes found themselves spending one night stranded in the LA airport, waiting for the green light to hop the next flight to Kona. Airline travel was suspended Sunday afternoon and night, had resumed by Monday.

Oahu was without power, an airport or traffic signals for most of the day, and families and visitors took the day easy and enjoyed quiet skies and peaceful streets. Many businesses were closed and grills and hibachis were seen in neighborhoods and parks as the dinner hour approached.

Although Maui residents felt the quake, structural damage reports were minimal. "We didn't think it was too bad on Maui, until we went out to find a sunday morning cup of coffee and ended up helping pushing boulders off the road" said Rob Parsons, Environmental Coordinator for Maui County.

Roads remain closed the highway to Hawi on the big island, and portions of the Hana Highway on Maui,

State Department of Transportation Director Rod Haraga said rockslides closed Hana Highway on Maui and three highways on the Big Island and were setting out Monday to assess the damage and structural integrity of three bridges: a concrete bridge in Honokaa at the mile 35 marker on Highway 19, and two bridges on Akoni Pule Highway near Kawaihae.

Mamalahoa Highway was also closed because of rockslides, Haraga said.

Kawaihae Harbor was closed due to structural damage to the pier, said a Hawaii County spokeswoman. Officials were to inspect the pier and also a fuel line for leaks. There was no major damage at other harbors, Haraga said.

Still, officials cautioned that they needed to inspect the many bridges, roads, earthen dams, schools and other structures across the Big Island, the isle closest to the epicenter. There were no immediate estimates of the overall damage.

Ray Lovell, state Civil Defense spokesman, said a loss estimate was not immediately available because damage was so scattered. "It's just premature to come up with dollar estimates right now," he said.

The Federal Emergency Management Agency was flying a 75-member response team to Honolulu on Monday with plans to go to the Big Island on Tuesday.

At the State Civil Defense headquarters, Lt. Gov. Duke Aiona, acting on Lingle's behalf, signed an executive order declaring a statewide disaster and authorizing the use of the National Guard.

Hawaii's largest quake on record was an 1868 magnitude-7.9 earthquake that triggered a tsunami and spawned numerous landslides that resulted in 31 deaths, according to the USGS. The last strongest temblor was in 1983, a magnitude 6.7.


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