HONOLULU (AP) -- Tsunami waves hit Hawaii in the early morning hours Friday and were sweeping through the island chain after an earthquake in Japan sparked evacuations throughout the Pacific and as far as the U.S. western coast.
The Pacific Tsunami Warning Center says Kauai was the first island hit early Friday by the tsunami, and the waves surged in Waikiki. Officials predicted Hawaii would experience waves up to 6 feet, and officials spent hours evacuating ahead of the storms. The waves early Friday weren't that large.
Residents in coastal areas of Hawaii were evacuated to refuge areas at community centers and schools while tourists in Waikiki were moved to higher floors of their high-rise hotels.
Roadways and beaches were empty as the tsunamis struck the state, which had hours to prepare.
The tsunami was generated by an 8.9-magnitude earthquake in Japan.
The governor of Hawaii ordered the evacuation of coastal areas and warned residents to take the threat seriously. People waited in long lines stocking up on gas, bottled water, canned food and generators, and officials told residents to stock up on water and fill their cars with gas.