POSTED: 10:40 a.m. HST, Apr 12, 2014
LAST UPDATED: 02:41 p.m. HST, Apr 12, 2014
The Pacific Tsunami Warning Center says there is no tsunami threat to Hawaii after a 7.6 magnitude earthquake rattled the Solomon Islands Saturday at 10:15 a.m.
The earthquake was first measured as an 8.3 magnitude but has been downgraded to 7.8 and then to 7.6, according to the PTWC. The quake had a depth of 18.2 miles.
The earthquake's epicenter was 200 miles southeast of Honiara, the Solomons capital.
The Solomon Islands, home to 600,000 people, was already reeling from devastating flash floods that struck Honiara and other areas April 3. The floods have killed 23 people and left 9,000 more homeless. Herming said up to 30 more people remain missing.
"It has really been a tough time," he said.
Andrew Catford, the Solomon Islands country director for World Vision, said that the aid group's staff in the Kirakira office in Makira province reported that there was no tsunami, but strong currents and heavy waves pounding the reefs. He said the group's staff evacuated to higher ground as a precaution.
"We felt this one strongly in Honiara. It was close to 30 seconds long," he said.
The Pacific Tsunami Warning Center initially issued a warning for the Solomon Islands, Vanuatu and Papua New Guinea. U.S. officials said there was no threat of a tsunami to the coasts of California, Oregon, Washington state, Hawaii or Alaska. Paul Whitmore, director of the National Tsunami Warning Center in Alaska, said powerful waves posed no threat to the U.S. West Coast or Canada after the quake.
The Solomon Islands lies on the "Ring of Fire" -- an arc of earthquake and volcanic activity that stretches around the Pacific Rim.