Hawaii tsunami warning lifted


A tsunami warning for Hawaii has been downgraded to an advisory, the Pacific Tsunami Warning Center said. Evacuation orders were also lifted for coastal areas, a Hawaii civil defence official said.

At least 100,000 people in Hawaii were ordered to move from the shoreline to higher ground late yesterday after a tsunami warning, but the first waves were less forceful than had been feared and no damage was initially reported.

The tsunami was triggered by a powerful earthquake off Canada's Pacific coast.

The Warning Center said the first tsunami wave was three feet high and less forceful than expected. Some forecasts had predicted a wave of up to six feet high.

"The tsunami arrived about when we expected it should," Senior Geophysicist Gerard Fryer told reporters at a news conference, saying: "I was expecting it to be a little bigger."

The tsunami hit with little warning and an alert, issued at short notice due to initial confusion among scientists about the quake's under-sea epicenter, caused massive traffic congestion as motorists made a mass exodus from low-lying areas.

The Pacific Tsunami Warning Center issued the alert, saying the first tsunami wave could strike the islands at 10.28pm Hawaii Standard Time (8.28am Irish time).

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