Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Earthquake in Hawaii

For anyone wondering what the earthquake in Hawaii on Sunday October 15th was like: Not bad here on Oahu. We are on a ridge in Aiea Heights, overlooking Pearl Harbor to the south and the plains and Waianae Mountains to the West.

Here is a revised version of an email I sent to a nephew:

We were not affected by the earthquake too much. Power just came on a few minutes ago...c.9:35 PM. It went off for the entire state a few minutes after the first shock at 7:08 this AM. We were in bed when the quake hit, probably shook the house for 5-8 seconds. No damage here that we know off. The Big Island apparently shook more like 25 seconds, with parking lots moving in waves and hotel TV sets falling off cabinets. Apparently all the power grids in the state shut down automaticly to prevent great damage in case of small undetected damage. The downside is everybody was without power for 10-14 hours. The upside is that the power grid didn't self-destruct and leave us without power for weeks or months. Pretty trivial insurance if you ask me, especially when you think: No power, no water.

It was a good opportunity to check our emergency hurricane supplies. We heated up some leftovers on the Coleman propane stove we got last year for hurricane use, and had plenty of basic foods- rice, canned chilli, soup, etc- and propane to work with. We saved water by using paper plates, cups, and plastic utensils which we thru away, and wiped out the cook pan and cook spoon with paper towels before washing.

We had enuf batteries for the flashlites and radios (as well as spares in the carport refrigerator) so we knew what was going on. The food in the freezers never defrosted, tho the refrigerator sections warmed up quite a bit. We have charcoal and a Weber, and considered a major barbecue, but that never became necessary. Shall throw out some stuff, but most seems ok.

We never lost water pressure but were cautioned not to use unnecesarily as the pumps were all off so the gravity feed from the tanks above us was dependent on the water in them when the power went off. The big scare with that was the possibility of fire if there was no water available, so important to conserve. We did see some smoke near the waterfront (Pearl Harbor) in the AM, but apparently whatever the problem was was dealt with OK.

Since we are generally concerned with hurricanes we hadn't any water stored in the collapsable 5 gallon jugs. Plenty of time to fill them if a hurricane is coming. So, we shall fill one or two, add a couple drops of bleach each, and store somewhere dark. Shall also buy extra candles, tho we had plenty for a short term outage.

All in all we were in good shape. It sounds like the Big Island has the most problems, with boulders down on a highway, a few buildings evacuated, some talk about a gasline ruptured, but you may well have more info on that we do. Sounds like pretty small problems, given what they could be like.

First radio reports said we had a 6.5, then revised to 4.5, then back to 6.5 without explanation. From what we heard of damage to the Big Island I suspect the higher was the more accurate.

We spent a very rainy day reading, and in the evening reading by flashlite and playing cards by candlelight. Not much to complain about.

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