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Waikiki heeds tsunami warning

By Star-Advertiser staff

LAST UPDATED: 01:43 a.m. HST, Oct 28, 2012

Waikiki hotels and businesses reacted quickly to Saturday night's tsunami warning.

By 9 p.m., most stores were closed or in the process of closing. While a light rain helped encourage most people to get off the street, Kuhio Avenue was jammed with cars heading out toward Kapahulu Avenue to higher ground.

"Even with the shorter notice, the visitor industry is prepared. ... Everyone is working together to ensure that we minimize the possible impact," Mike McCartney, president and CEO of the Hawaii Tourism Authority, said from the Diamond Head command center, where the state's leaders have gathered.

Members of the HTA and of the Hawaii Visitors and Convention Bureau and their communications teams set up an emergency center at the Hawaii Convention Center, he said.

"Usually the hotel's evacuate vertically, unless the building cannot stand the surf or waves," McCartney said earlier in the night. "Every hotel has an evacuation plan. Everybody is ready. "

McCartney said flights were delayed and canceled because of the tsunami warning.

He said visitors with questions in the aftermath of the tsunami scare can call the HTA’s 1-800-GO-HAWAII hotline. “You can get information there for each island.”

There are about 175,000 tourists in Hawaii today. “We thank them for their cooperation.” he said.

He reminded visitors to stay away from the water today until officials say it is safe since the tsunami’s effects on currents are expected to last for hours.

Guests at the eleven hotels affiliated with Starwood Hotels & Resorts vertically evacuated after the tsunami warning was issued, said Keith Vieira, senior vice president and director of operations for Starwood Hotels & Resorts in Hawaii and French Polynesia.

"Everybody is going above the fourth floor," Vieira said.

While most of Starwood's hotels are running above 90 percent, Vieira said managers are working to relocate guests.

 Managers were called into work to assist with emergency plans, Vieira said. However, union workers who were not scheduled to work were not asked to come, he said.

The hotels have enough food and water in the system to make it through the emergency, Vieira said earlier in the night. 

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al_kiqaeda wrote:
I find it perplexing that after the worldwide coverage of the Indonesian and Japan tsunamis that people would want to go anywhere near the seashore during a tsunami warning. Last year there was one babooz that was caught on the Waikiki traffic cam. This year there were a couple of dozen visible including one in a wheelchair. I guess evolution demands that the gene pool must be cleansed once in a while.
on October 28,2012 | 07:59AM
2_centz wrote:
you can also think that those "babooz" as you called them had superior genes which gave them the insight that not tsunami was coming (?). Does this make any sense?
on October 28,2012 | 08:17AM
anniemcnewsy wrote:
on October 28,2012 | 11:00AM
BO0o07 wrote:
They had superior genes only because the tsunami didn't come but everybody would call them a babooz if they got washed away in the tsunami wave.
on October 28,2012 | 02:06PM
seagypsy wrote:
I have to say that Hawaii residents are the most courteous, calm, and helpful people on the planet. While everyone was trying to get out of Waikiki last night, my husband and I were trying to get in - to take our 65' motor boat out to sea. Time was really running short for us and traffic was knarled, to say the least. Despite this, I did not hear one horn honk or see one example of road rage. Drivers were most polite and let us in to cross streets. I had left my phone on the boat (charging) and a policeman at a stop light let me use his to contact my husband. Kudos to everyone - I love this place because even in a time of panic, everyone remembers their manners and show their friendship. And to all the city workers and police - thank you for a job very well done.
on October 28,2012 | 10:50AM
livinginhawaii wrote:
Regarding your post I would think that we were in two completely different twilight zones last night. I observed nuts running red lights along Kalaukaua , Kuhio and Kapiolani. I also observed, at several intersections, cars crossing last minute and blocking cross traffic. While these nuts were breaking the law horns were honking constantly. Maybe this all started to fall apart after you were out at sea... I have to say that the Hawaii residents and visitors I saw last night were the most disrespectful, rude, law violating people around...
on October 28,2012 | 02:40PM
kk808 wrote:
Apparently, you and seagypsy had different experiences of the events last night. But we can be grateful that there were no fights, gunshots, looting, etc., that often occur in other cities. Lucky we live Hawaii? I am.
on October 28,2012 | 05:45PM
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