Tsunami Alert Hits Obama's Home State


UPDATE at 3:00 pm E.T.: President Barack Obama said this afternoon, "I urge citizens to listen closely to the instructions of local officials, who will have the full support of the federal government as they prepare for a potential tsunami, and recover from any damage that may be caused." He also expressed condolences for the Chilean people and pledged support from the United States.

The 8.8 magnitude earth quake that struck Chile, killing at least 122 people, has triggered a tsunami warning for President Barack Obama's home state of Hawaii.

State officials in Hawaii have activated their emergency response plans to prepare for a possible tsunami caused by the massive earthquake in Chile, an official said Saturday.

The Pacific Tsunami Warning Center issued a tsunami warning — its highest alert — for Hawaii, where incoming waves topping out at six feet could cause damage along the coastlines across the island chain. A warning was also in effect for Guam, American Samoa and dozens of other Pacific islands.


The first waves were expected to arrive in Hawaii at 11:19 a.m. Saturday (4:19 p.m. EST).

"It's a big concern," said Shelly Ichishita, a spokeswoman for the state Department of Defense Civil Defense Division. "We're taking this very seriously."


Evacuation of Hawaii's coastal areas is under way. It is the first voluntary evacation since 1994, reports Australia's News.com.

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