Sunday, October 28, 2012

No Tsunami

The all clear was sounded at 1:40am. The folks at the Pacific Tsunami Warning Center didn't get the height of the wave right, *fortunately*. Waves were predicted between 2 to 7 feet. Only at Kahului Harbor, Maui, did one wave front reach 2.5-feet. However, the PTWC's projected energy map (below) was spot on based on the readings of the NOAA pacific bouys. This level of accuracy wasn't even on the radar a few years ago. As shown on the map, the looming spectre of a direct hit on the islands heightened the sense of alarm irregardless of the size of the wave a coming. The projected 7-feet wave might not seem extremely destructive but it's packs enough volume of water to flood the land a few hundred yards inshore. In fact, the distance between the ocean and the Ala Wai canal where I'm at is only a few hundred yards wide and I'd been saturated from two fronts as a 7-foot wave traveled upstream on the Ala Wai. As usual, much of the night's traffic congestion was instigated by people filling up gas and buying survival supplies the last minute. Honk if you like, perhaps the proprietors should forgo the windfall profit and voluntarily shut down their stores, at least, for the hour or two immediately following the civil defense siren so the street stay open for more reasonable people just trying to get home. True, the odds of that ever happening is nil.

Even for a sense of relief, I've never found anything humorous about these non-disaster outcomes. A few years ago, there was a new products exhibition, and one booth had a mega screen which played videos of Hawaii's last hurricane. People would get up in front of the mega screen with the hurricane video as a backdrop, and perform impromptu reditions of a tv weather reporter. Meterologists, I guess is the proper term. Aspiring meterologists, so to speak. There was this kid who got up in front of the hurricane screen and was laughing and being funny with his reportage, and a local tv station showed the kid's antics as part of their coverage of the new product exhibition on the 6 o'clock news. To me, that showed a total lack of empathy for the victims of the hurricane. Suffice it to say that the kid didn't know any better. However, the tv station did know better. If you've ever been to a natural disaster zone, the air is thick with the quiet after the storm. The air is also thick with dispair allevieted to some degree by the numbness of the shock over the level of destruction. Many people have lost personal belongings and numerous items possessed irreplaceable sentimental value. Less fortunate victims will never be able to afford to rebuild their property ever. Also, in the interim, there's no hot water to take warm baths. That's if there's even water flowing in the pipes to come outta the water spout. There's no electricity to cook. Or, for that matter, neither for lights at night. So the nights are dark with an eerie quiet. When daylight breaks it's the same scene.


Kay said...

Thank goodness the tsunami was not as bad as feared.

My son, on the other hand is now living in Baltimore. School has been cancelled for tomorrow. I'm hoping and hoping that Hurricane Sandy will also not be as bad as it's looking to be.

RONW said...

Kay- back in '86 we were in a traffic jam on Ala Moana Blvd. about the time the wave was about to hit. Things are better today. That was in the day. Where Jon is it's not all that good, but I'm sure with him he won't be phased at the slightest. on