WAILUKU Maui residents sought higher ground and rushed to fill up gas tanks early Friday morning as they braced for what Pacific Tsunami Warning center officials predict will be a 6-foot-high wall of water around 3 a.m.
Hawaii remained under a tsunami warning from wave generated by a magnitude 8.9 earthquake that struck the east coast of Japan at 7:46 p.m. Thursday Hawaii time.
The U.S. Coast Guard reported that rescue crews were making preparations throughout the Hawaiian Islands to provide post-tsunami support. Coast Guard cutter and aircraft crews were positioning themselves to be ready to conduct response and survey missions as soon as it is safe, the Coast Guard said.
Hawaiian Telcom asked customers to limit phone calls to emergencies only.
"Call traffic volume has increased significantly following the reported 8.9-magnitude earthquake off the coast of Honshu, Japan," the telecommunications company said.
At 9:32 p.m. Thursday, Maui County advised residents to check if they are in a flood zone "to prepare for a possible tsunami evacuation this evening."
Flood maps can be found in the front section of the phone book or by going to www.scd.hawaii.gov and using the tsunami evacuation mapping tool.
"If you are in a flood zone and need to evacuate, please head to a family or friend's home in upper-lying areas out of the flood zone," the county advised residents. "If you do not have another location to evacuate to, then head toward one of the following Maui County assembly sites."
Those were listed as:
-- Central Maui War Memorial Gym, the Velma McWayne Santos Community Center and Maui High School.
-- South Maui Kihei Community Center and Wailea Alanui Drive grass parking lot.
-- West Maui Baseball park behind the Lahaina Aquatic Center, Fleming Park and Nahienaena Elementary School.
-- East Maui Camp Keanae and Hana High and Elementary School.
-- Upcountry Mayor Hannibal Tavares Community Center, Eddie Tam Gym and the Kula Community Center.