Florence family in Hawaii during tsunami - MSNewsNow.com - Jackson, MS

Florence family in Hawaii during tsunami

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By Julie Straw - bio | email | twitter

FLORENCE, MS (WLBT) -  Those in Mississippi with loved ones in tsunami affected areas watched and waited for what they hoped would be good news.  The powerful earthquake that violently shook Japan sent tsunami waves stretching to the Hawaiian islands.  Sirens warned of their arrival.

"These waves efficiently wrap around the islands.  Because they are such a long waves we'll see impacts along all coasts," said Chip McCreary with Pacific Tsunami Warning in Hawaii.

Around 5:30 Friday morning Central Time, Kim Walker of Florence received a call from her son.

"I was you know, from a deep sleep, I was like "huh?"  He said, "ya, an earthquake has hit Japan and we're under a tsunami warning," explained Walker.

Twenty-two-year-old Jeremy Walker is in the Navy serving on the USS Abraham Lincoln now at Oahu. His father Kevin had joined him for a "Tiger Cruise" where family gets to travel for a few days on the ship. Kim Walker stayed glued to the news.

"You see Japan. Then they're steady showing the Waikiki Beach. Of course it is dark so you're not really able to see," said Kim Walker.

The tsunami hit Hawaii before dawn. Water rushed up onto streets and into hotel lobbies on the big island.  Low lying areas in Maui were flooded as seven foot waves crashed ashore.

"The airport, some of the runways were flooded, but it only came in about a half mile," said Kim Walker.

Jeremy and Kevin Walker stayed on the 38th floor of their hotel in Honolulu. For Kim Walker the most important thing was that her family was safe.

The Mississippi Emergency Management Agency was encouraging everyone in the state to know how to prepare for earthquakes.  Residents are urged to participate in the Great Central U.S. Shake Out Drill on April 28th.  The shakeout is a ten state, coordinated earthquake drill that will take place at 10:15 that morning.

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