|Taken near the Tsunami Museum|
So here is a little about Tsunamis:
What is a Tsunami? There are a few different types but in Hawai'i they are caused by earthquakes from other parts of the world. As you can see in the graph, Hawai'i is very prone to Tsumanis. If there is an Earthquake (not sure the exact magnitude) in any of coast lines around Hawai'i it is only a matter of hours before Hawai'i is hit with a couple of deadly waves. They can travel up to 500m/hr.
On April 1, 1946 in Alaska there was an earthquake, the Hawaiians were notified but many thought it was an April fools joke...killing 159 people and destroying much of the town. Not only do people just drown, they get hit by the debris in the water including cars and buses.
It had been quite some time since the last Tsunami that no one really even knew what one was or what to expect even if they had taken it seriously. Lack of knowledge played a big part in the deaths of these people. For surfers...they went out to catch that big wave. For most others it just mere curiosity that brought them in the danger zone. At points between the waves the water is actually sucked back out to sea leaving the fish flopping around on the ocean bottom, which I imagine is quite a scene to see. People went out to collect those fish only to be hit by the next big wave. Since then they have relocated all of the residents who lived in the Tsunami Zone and most of those areas are now large parks and beaches and the businesses are farther inland. Also, now there is an official warning system in place, including sirens stationed all over the island, giving the residents of Hawai'i warning to get out of the Tsunami zone in time.
The lady at the museum said in Feb, 2010 there was earthquake in Chili and they did evacuate the Tsunami Zone in Hilo, fortunately the waves only ended up being 4ft by the time it got there only causing minimal damage on the coastal parks and beaches with no casualties. I also learned that even if the Tsunami hits on one side of the island the opposite side is still effected, it somehow wraps around. And strangely if you are on your boat like 10 miles out you can't even tell a Tsunami is going by.