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Hawaii tsunami: Smaller waves than predicted after Canada quake

Hawaii tsunami: Initial tsunami waves are small. But Hawaii residents got a good test of tsunami preparedness in the wake of Saturday's magnitude 7.7 earthquake off Canada.

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US Geological Survey map of the magnitude 7.7 earthquake that struck near the Queen Charlotte Islands Saturday evening.

USGS

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The first waves of a tsunami hitting Hawaii on Saturday night were smaller than expected, roughly three hours after evacuations were ordered for coastal areas threatened after a powerful earthquake struck off Canada.

Gerard Fryer, a geologist tracking the tsunami for the Pacific Tsunami Warning Center, said the largest wave in the first 45 minutes of the tsunami was measured in Maui at more than 5 feet, about 2 feet higher than normal sea levels.

State and local officials warned residents and tourists not to go back to inundation zones until an all-clear is given, though no major damage was reported.

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At first, officials said Hawaii wasn't in any danger of a tsunami after the 7.7-magnitude earthquake rattled the western coast of North America Saturday night, sparking tsunami warnings for southern Alaska and western Canada.

Later, officials issued a warning for Hawaii as well, saying there had been a change in sea readings. About the same time, a tsunami advisory was issued for a 450-mile stretch of U.S. coast running from north of San Francisco to central Oregon.

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