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A TSUNAMI warning was issued for Hawaii after a 7.7-magnitude earthquake was reported just off Canada’s west coast yesterday afternoon.
Guam Homeland Security/Office of Civil Defense in coordination with the National Weather Service reported the temblor occurred near British Columbia in the vicinity of the Queen Charlotte Islands.
The tsunami warning was announced for the entire west coast of Canada, Alaska, and the rest of the U.S. but was later cancelled.
However, international news service reports stated a tsunami was heading toward the Hawaiian Islands and would land at around 10:28 p.m. Saturday night Hawaii time (6:38 p.m. yesterday Guam time).
Sirens were reported blaring in parts of Hawaii and residents sought higher ground to escape the expected onslaught of waves.
Former Guam resident J.B. Borja was “vertically evacuated” at his condominium in Waikiki. Borja lives on the 16th floor and two blocks away from the beach side.
“First and foremost, thanks to everyone who are sending prayers and well wishes this way. I was at Ala Moana having dinner with friends when I first got the news,” he said.
He was glad to see everyone took the warning seriously but observed that the tsunami warning had traffic gridlocked all over the island while people attempted to get to safety.
“I heard several reports of people getting unruly at gas stations and grocery stores,” he added.
When the time came for the waves to arrive, all was calm.
“Forty minutes after the first wave was supposed to hit, it's been (thankfully) a non-event,” he said.
Borja also kept tabs on the tsunami based on live coverage from Hawaii’s news stations in different parts of the island.
“It's a quiet, though nervous, calm across the island now as people are preparing for the worst, but hoping for the best,” he said.
Meanwhile, news wires reported that the first waves were not as huge as expected. The Pacific Tsunami Warning Center’s latest notice indicated a wave in Kahului on Maui of about 2.5 feet. But even with the reports of the small waves, the all-clear still not had been given as of press time.