Hawaii spared worst of Friday's tsunami

NOAA's projected tsunami warning. Courtesy NOAA

Hawaii is tired and groggy this Aloha Friday after being on tsunami watch all night. Residents near the shoreline were evacuated to higher ground. Tourists were evacuated to the third floor or higher in their hotels. Lines at the gas pump were a dozen or more long after the emergency sirens started going off at 10 p.m. Thursday night. Those expecting the worst packed the grocery stores, stocking up on water, non-perishable food items, batteries and toilet paper. AT&T cell phones were conveniently not in service as members of the network tried to call loved ones and friends all at once. Apple iPhone users kept in contact via social networks and the occasional text.

After the devastating 8.9 earthquake that rocked northern Japan yesterday, the entire Pacific braced for the worst. Initial reports indicated that the tsunami would reach Hawaii at 2:59 a.m. Friday morning and was forecast to be 12 feet. It didn't come in that size, but something came. Although there were no major damage reported so far, harbor areas, like Haleiwa, Kahului on Maui and Kona on Hawaii Island, are reporting damage this morning.

ESPN received this report from frequent photo/video contributor, Terry Reis:

"Evacuated people are allowed to go back to their homes now. All action pretty much happened during darkness. Local news showing some local damage caused by the tsunami around some of the islands. Some boat harbors and boats experienced some damage. Boats being tossed around. Nothing too major being reported right now. There was some homes damaged on the Big Island. No report of anyone getting hurt."

Schools that were not already off for the unrelated "Furlough Fridays" were closed State offices are closed. At 7 a.m. HST, the airport was not open. Roadways near the ocean, like Kalakaua Avenue in Waikiki, are closed.