Maui Hawaii Real Estate Q & A - what's a Tsunami?

Real Estate Agent with Hawai'i Life Real Estate Brokers HRE# 58089 - RS

the Kuau shoreline - Maui north shore ocean views

 What's a TSUNAMI?

  • a series of ocean waves that can be a threat to residents of coastal areas
  • may last for several hours
  • may be generated by earthquakes nearby or far away
  • may come at any time with little or no warning
  • may be monitored by the Pacific Tsunami Warning Center (PTWS)


Today seems like a fitting day for this topic, with the 8.8 earthquake in Chile generating a wave that's coming our way here in Hawaii.

It's 9:40 am and we're under a tsunami warning, meaning we are expecting a tsunami around 11:30 am here on Maui, Hawaii.

Some parts of Maui have already been evacuated, as of very early this morning - see the civil defense notification here.

Are you prepared on Maui?  Take the preparedness test.  Look for the maps in your telephone book yellow pages which will show the historical food inundation zones.

Don't worry, there is a very loud WARNING SIREN located in coastal areas. There will probably be plenty of time to warn Hawaii residents of any impending tsunamis.

The siren is tested on or about the first day of the month, so don't be alarmed if you hear this. Simply tune in to any radio/TV station for instructions on evacuation procedure. The last tsunami on Maui's northshore was in 1964, caused by an earthquake in Alaska. Residents were warned, and no lives were lost. Strong earthquakes that originate in Hawaii are rare. Even if there is a tsunami warning, it doesn't mean there definitely will be a tsunami. In 1984 there was a "false alarm" and everyone waited for the big one that thankfully never came.

What does this have to do with real estate?  If you own oceanfront property on Maui, you'll want to know about tsunamis!  You will need flood insurance from the government.

Whatever you do, don't go down to the beach to pick up fish. And don't go surfing!

Aloha from Maui - STAY SAFE ~ Georgina M. Hunter R(S) e-Pro ~ EMAIL ~ 808 283-0635

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Cari Anderson
Danville, CA

Georgina - You are all in our thoughts.  Be safe.  Cari & I love Maui and all the magic that surrounds the Islands. ~Cari & Doug

Feb 27, 2010 05:43 AM #1
Larry Lawfer
YourStories Realty Group - Newton, MA
"I listen for a living." It's all about you.

Wow, Georgina, I will be paying attention to what is going on.  I am guessing from the way this is written that you are in no immediate danger.  I am sure you will take care.  I will be curious to see how the incident plays out.  I am turning on on my internet now.  I am sure there are some twitter bugs out there ready to post.  Be well, my friend.

Feb 27, 2010 05:45 AM #2
Georgie Hunter R(S) 58089
Hawai'i Life Real Estate Brokers - Haiku, HI
Maui Real Estate sales and lifestyle info

We're on high ground here.  We have some Canadian visitors that have been evacuated from their condo in Kihei!  I think all will be fine.  There is such a good system in place here.  Thanks for your concern!

Feb 27, 2010 05:45 AM #3
Lottie Kendall
Today | Sotheby's International Realty - San Carlos, CA
Serving San Mateo County and San Francisco

Georgina, hoping the best for you, Maui and the other islands. Isn't it great to have that early warning system in place?

Feb 27, 2010 05:45 AM #4
Rebecca Gaujot, Realtor®
Perry Wellington Realty, Adam Conrad, Broker - Lewisburg, WV
Lewisburg WV, the go to agent for all real estate

I've been watching this on the news since last evening. The earthquake in Chile and now the Tsunami heading toward Hawaii is scary. My prayers are with you and all of Hawaii...

Feb 27, 2010 05:45 AM #5
Georgie Hunter R(S) 58089
Hawai'i Life Real Estate Brokers - Haiku, HI
Maui Real Estate sales and lifestyle info

There is plenty of news coverage and it seems like people are behaving very well - but I hear there's a 2 can case limit on SPAM at Times Supermarket, and that might cause a panic!  lol

Feb 27, 2010 05:46 AM #6
R. Michael Brown
R. Michael Brown LLC Digital Marketing & Public Relations - West Palm Beach, FL
Communication that increases sales!

As a surfer and former ocean lifeguard and coastal and ocean engineer, the big difference between a tsunami and a regular wind driven or storm driven wave is the SPEED of the wave, not the size. 

This tsunami is travelling at 500 mph, over 5 times faster than regular surf.  It is calculated to be in the 6-7 foot range but the height will depend on the the bottom it encounters. 

Some people think, no big deal, it's only 7 feet.  However, using a bit of physics:

Force = Mass x Acceleration

Standard surf at 7 feet (mass) that jacks up on a reef, sandbar, or beach; no big deal.  The force is not that great. 

However, multiply all that acceleration and you have a huge amount of force.  GET AWAY FROM THE BEACH!

This is one of the big reasons building should not happen near the beach.  Views are great but when a storm or tsunami hits you and knocks out the first floor of your propterty or more, you loose everything.

Be careful Hawaii!


Feb 27, 2010 05:54 AM #7
R. Michael Brown
R. Michael Brown LLC Digital Marketing & Public Relations - West Palm Beach, FL
Communication that increases sales!


Glad to hear you're on high ground. A good friend of mine has real estate offices in Florida and Kihei and I wonder if you know him: Kurt Luft.  We've been out to stay and surf with him often. 

Like the Spam joke. Wonder how many will get it.


Feb 27, 2010 06:03 AM #8
Georgie Hunter R(S) 58089
Hawai'i Life Real Estate Brokers - Haiku, HI
Maui Real Estate sales and lifestyle info

Mike - things are being handled very well here.  Roads in low lying areas are closed.  Sirens have been going off (from what I hear).  People are being encouraged to seek higher ground.  We're going to have a tsunami party!  So glad I don't live by the beach anymore!  

Feb 27, 2010 06:33 AM #9
Laura Cerrano
Feng Shui Manhattan Long Island - Locust Valley, NY
Certified Feng Shui Expert, Speaker & Researcher

Georgina, I just this second heard about it on the news.....I would be terrified and hope you leave if you hear it's going to be worse then expected.  STAY SAFE!!

Feb 27, 2010 07:34 AM #10
Georgie Hunter R(S) 58089
Hawai'i Life Real Estate Brokers - Haiku, HI
Maui Real Estate sales and lifestyle info

It's over and we're all safe!  We can thank the Pacific Tsunami Warning Center for keeping us informed, and KGMB news for some great live coverage.

Thanks for your comments and concern.

Feb 27, 2010 10:08 AM #11
Sun City Grand Homes Surprise AZ Real Estate Leolinda Bowers Designated Broker Leolinda Realty
Leolinda Realty - Surprise, AZ
Sun City Grand in Surprise Arizona

There were no sirens in Hilo in 1960.  I remember being asleep and waking up to the noise from the wave even though we lived about 15 miles away.  Extremely traumatic.  Good to hear all is well that there was no loss of life.

Feb 27, 2010 02:07 PM #12
Dale Baker
Baker Energy Audits and Commercial Properties Inspections - Claremont, NH
New Hampshire Relocation Real Estate Information

Howdy and evenen there Georgina

I remember the Tsunami warning siren, from when I would be on R and R at Pearl. I'm sure sorry for not seeing your blog post yesterday, my friend. How are thing go-en today?   

Baker Home Energy Audit and Commerciial Properties Inspections

Feb 28, 2010 10:08 AM #13
Georgie Hunter R(S) 58089
Hawai'i Life Real Estate Brokers - Haiku, HI
Maui Real Estate sales and lifestyle info

Leolinda - wow that must have been quite scary!  Things have sure changed since then.

Dale - thanks for asking - things are normal today.  And, we're getting some much needed rain, so it's a perfect day!

Feb 28, 2010 10:20 AM #14
Dawn A Fabiszak
Private Label Realty ( Denver metro area, Colorado - Aurora, CO
The Dawn of a New Real Estate Experience!

Gorgina ~ I'm glad you are all safe.  That has to be a little terrifying.  The only disaster here in Colorago that I have been affected to some degree by is a major snow storm(s) and a fire.  I had ashes on my deck and house from a fire that was about 40 miles away.  Even so, it was still scary.

Feb 28, 2010 11:25 AM #15
Carra & Shae Riley
Brokers Guild Cherry Creek Ltd - Westminster, CO
Helping people Transition at all ages!

Georgina....I'm very glad all is well in the islands.  Having lived on Maui in the late '80s and early 90s, I am familiar with the tsunami warning system.  It is great to have early warning in the event of such a disaster.

Cosmic Cow

Mar 01, 2010 01:49 AM #16
Mary Douglas
United Country Ponderosa Realty, Red Feather Lakes, Colorado - Red Feather Lakes, CO
REALTOR, Red Feather Lakes, Colorado

Hi Georgina, I'm glad to hear all is well, the early warning system is a very ggod thing.  It's hard to comprehend living in an area prone to tsunami - I guess it is a small price compared to the beauty of the islands.

Mar 01, 2010 06:26 AM #17
Barbara-Jo Roberts Berberi, MA, PSA, TRC - Greater Clearwater Florida Residential Real Estate Professional
Charles Rutenberg Realty - Clearwater, FL
Palm Harbor, Dunedin, Clearwater, Safety Harbor

thank heaven that nothing happened out there! You were in my thoughts and prayers, as were all the residents of that island paradise!

Mar 02, 2010 06:19 AM #18
Robert Vegas Bob Swetz
Realty ONE Group - Las Vegas, NV
Las Vegas Henderson Homes for Sale

Hello Georgina and I have some men I work with that have all their family back in Hawaii and everyone there should feel very "Lucky" the tsunami died down out in The Pacific.

VB ;o)

Mar 02, 2010 11:32 AM #19
Katerina Gasset
Get It Done For Me Virtual Services - Wellington, FL
Get It Done For Me Virtual Services

Except for those daring brave and silly fishermen who like to run into the Tsunami as it is pulling back to gather up the exposed fish! 

Mar 03, 2010 11:04 AM #20
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