When one goes to Hawaii, tsunamis aren’t the first thing one thinks of happening. For the Apache Belles and several band members, they’re thankful the tsunami wasn’t as bad as originally thought and that they will be returning home safely.
On March 11, an 8.9 magnitude earthquake happened just offshore of Japan. For comparison, the earthquake last month in Christchurch, New Zealand was almost 8,000 times weaker, according to scientists. This earthquake helped unleash a tsunami. At its highest point, the waves were 23 feet. Besides the tsunami, Japan also went through at least 50 aftershocks that were almost as strong as the original earthquake. This deadly combination has taken more than 400 lives.
This tsunami traveled to Hawaii where the Apache Belles, band members and alumni were just about to wrap up their trip. The Belles performed for the military at several locations including the USS Missouri. Hawaii was put under a tsunami watch with estimated arrival time between 3 and 7 A.M. In the wee hours of the morning, everyone was moved to the top floors of their hotel, Outrigger Waikiki On the Beach, Oahu. From there, they could see the beginnings of the tsunami move in. One student said she could see waves in the dark.
When the tsunami reached Hawaii, it had lost a lot of steam. According to band director Tom Mensch, it was only a 1-3 foot tsunami which reached the top of the beach and then receded. It didn’t breach the seawall and was only slightly bigger than a normal high tide. There has been no major damage to any part of Hawaii. The tsunami has reached the west coast but is not expected to cause any damage.
As of now, the Belles, band members and alumni have gotten the all-clear and will be returning home safely.