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TSUNAMI WATCH CANCELLED, BUT SWIMMERS, BEACHGOERS, AND BOATERS ASKED TO STAY OUT OF THE OCEAN FROM 1:00 P.M. TO 7:00 P.M.

(Tuesday, Sept. 29, 2009)—At 10:30 a.m. the Pacific Tsunami Warning Center cancelled the Tsunami Watch for Hawaii based on data which indicated that no damaging tsunami had been generated and no significant tsunami threat was imminent for Hawaii.  However, the possibility remains that the Samoa region earthquake could generate unusual currents and wave heights along Oahu shores from 1:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. this evening.   

These wave fluctuations could be hazardous to swimmers, surfers, beach goers and boaters.  Residents and visitors are asked to stay out of the ocean and keep clear of the immediate shoreline as a precaution until the event passes.

“We are asking for the kokua of all of our residents and visitors to keep out of the water and away from the beaches and river mouths,” Mayor Mufi Hannemann said. “These precautionary measures are being implemented to keep everyone safe.”   

Hannemann also said, “My thoughts are with friends and family in Samoa. I know many of us have relatives and good friends in the affected areas, and we pray that they are safe and secure despite what must have been a very frightening time. We hope no one was injured and expect a quick recovery.”

The Pacific Tsunami Warning Center in Ewa Beach alerted the Honolulu Department of Emergency Management early this morning that an 8.3 magnitude earthquake located near American Samoa had placed the State of Hawaii in a Tsunami Watch.

“We activated the City’s Emergency Operations Center immediately upon notification from the Pacific Tsunami Warning Center,” said Melvin Kaku, director of the Department of Emergency Management.  “We will continue to monitor the situation throughout the day.”

The Department of Emergency Management is coordinating with Police, Fire, Ocean Safety, Emergency Management Reservists, DLNR, State Sheriffs and the visitor industry to alert residents and visitors to stay out of the water during this period.  In addition, boaters should exercise caution when entering or exiting harbors.

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Media contact: Bill Brennan, Mayor’s Press Secretary, 768-6928