New extreme tsunami evacuation zone maps indicate far greater impact

New extreme tsunami evacuation zone maps indicate far greater impact

HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - The City & County of Honolulu has updated its tsunami evacuation zone maps -- adding a second extended zone in case of an extreme tsunami. The change comes after scientists discovered evidence on Kauai that Hawaii has been hit by a tsunami as high as 30 feet before.

Corliss Smith-Tang has lived in Moiliili since 2003. She wasn't surprised to hear her neighborhood is now in the extreme tsunami evacuation zone, but she is worried.

"If that tsunami should come through Waikiki, we are definitely not prepared," Smith-Tang said.

The most recent Waikiki tsunami evacuation zone map from 2010 ends right above the Ala Wai, but under a worst case scenario the second zone extends to H-1. Officials say that's almost 2-3 times the depth.

"The significance of this particular scenario that we're looking at obviously it's high impact because of the depth of the potential evacuation requirements and potential damage, but very low frequency in terms of occurrence," said Melvin Kaku, the Dept. of Emergency Management Director.

Experts believe the chances a major earthquake of at least a magnitude 9 and likely from the Aleutian Islands could send a surge of water 30 feet high is about every 1,000 years.

"In any person's lifetime there's like a 5% chance this will happen,

so it's a low probability but it's high enough that we cannot ignore it," said Dr. Gerard Fryer, a geophysicist with the Pacific Tsunami Warning Center.

Hawai'i's deadliest tsunami in modern history came from the same area in 1946 -- an 8.1 magnitude event that killed 159 people.

According to officials the extension of the tsunami evacuation zone will not impact flood insurance rates or coverage at all. Officials also want to make sure residents know the evacuation process stays the same during a tsunami warning -- evacuate if you're in a zone, stay off the roads if you're not and go to higher ground if you're near the shoreline and feel an earthquake.

The City & County of Honolulu is hosting 16 informational meetings in O'ahu's coastal communities to review the new maps and answer questions from the public.

Representatives from the city's Department of Emergency Management will be on hand to present the new maps, discuss the implications for Oahu residents, and answer questions.


Location Date Time Notes Address
Aina Haina Community Park


7 p.m.

Meeting Room/Park is adjacent to Aina Haina Elementary

827 West Hind Dr, Honolulu, HI 96821

Mission Memorial


8:30 a.m.

Mission Memorial Hearing Room

550 South King St, Honolulu, HI 96813

Hawaii Pacific University


8:30 a.m.

Frear Center Room- FC 107 (Use Fort Street Mall Entrance)

1132 Bishop St, Honolulu, HI 96813

Aiea Public Library


7 p.m.

Meeting Room

99-374 Pohai Pl, Aiea, HI 96701

Waikiki Elementary



7 p.m.

Multi-Purpose Room (Auditorium)

3710 Leahi Ave, Honolulu, HI 96815

Hawaii Kai Public Library


7 p.m.

Meeting Room

249 Lunalilo Home Rd, Honolulu, HI 96825

Kapolei Hale


7 p.m.

Conference Rooms A & B (Lower parking lot available for attendees

1000 Uluohia St, Kapolei, HI 96707

Kailua District Park


7 p.m.

Meeting Room (do not park on grass, use designated stalls)

21 S. Kainalu Dr, Kailua, HI 96734

Kaneohe District Park


7 p.m. Meeting Room 

45-660 Keaahala Rd, Kaneohe, HI 96744

Ewa Mahiko District Park


7 p.m.

Room #1

91-1145 Renton Rd, Ewa Beach, HI 96706

Waialua District Park


7 p.m.

Meeting Room

67-180 Goodale Ave, Waialua, HI 96791

Waimanalo District Park


7 p.m.

Meeting Room

41-415 Hihimanu St, Waimanalo, HI 96795

Sunset Beach Recreation Center


7 p.m.

Meeting Room

59-540 Kamehameha Hwy, Haleiwa, HI 96712

Kaawa Elementary School


7 p.m.

Auditorium, please do not park on grass (use lot)

51-296 Kamehameha Hwy, Kaawa, HI 96730

Wai‘anae District Park


7 p.m.

Meeting Room (do not park on grass, use designated stalls)

85-601 Farrington Hwy, Waianae, HI 96792

Nanakuli Beach Park


7 p.m.

Multi-Purpose Room

89-269 Farrington Hwy,

Waianae, Hawaii 96792



7 p.m.

Little Theatre at the McKay Building; park in first lot to the left

55-220 Kulanui St, Laie, HI 96762

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