Saturday, February 27, 2010

Liveblogging a Tsunami

I take back the nice things I said about the media coverage. They have the tsunami directly affecting Hilo Bay, but they keep putting their "breaking news" banner right over the most visible aspect of the receding water as the tsunami hits (see the unblocked picture above). And then they keep going back to Oahu where absolutely nothing is happening, or repeating pictures of the same stupid surfer from three hours ago. They have a tsunami happening in front of them and don't seem to realize it. A big learning moment is passing them (and us) by.

A reporter on one of those channels says they are hoping for the best...but to be cynical, if the best happens, I suspect there will be much gnashing of teeth about Chicken Little and "inaccurate" predictions of an inherently unpredictable event.

Updated Note 2:30 PST:

The photo is Coconut Island in Hilo Bay. In 1946, a horrendous tsunami overran the small island, and swept into downtown Hilo, killing more than 100 people. Today's event is thankfully much smaller, though it is not over with yet.

Update 2:55 PST:

All the news networks went to commercials. I guess the tsunami is over (it's not, but it wasn't big enough to keep their interest).

Update 3:05 PST:

The tsunami has in fact caused at least some fatalities, just not in Hawaii, and notably not mentioned on the networks that I can tell (on islands closer to Chile). A more comprehensive live blog about the earthquake and tsunami on a more worldwide basis can be found at EnduringAmerica. I suggest checking there for some straight blogging without my opinions of the media coverage.

Update 3:37 PST:

MEASUREMENTS OR REPORTS OF TSUNAMI WAVE ACTIVITY

(from the Pacific Tsunami Warning Center)

GAUGE LOCATION
------------------- ----- ------ ----- --------------- -----
KAWAIHAE HAWAII 0.52M / 1.7FT
BARBERS PT HI 0.19M / 0.6FT
KAUMALAPAU HAWAII 0.18M / 0.6FT
KAHULUI MAUI 0.98M / 3.2FT
NAWILIWILI KAUAI 0.28M / 0.9FT
HILO HI 0.86M / 2.8FT
PAGO PAGO AS 0.66M / 2.2FT

Also, as predicted, the weasels in the media are complaining about a "false alarm". They seem almost disappointed that there wasn't any widespread death and destruction in Hawaii. At the end of the interview with someone from the Warning Center the newsreader admitted that the waves actually did reach the proportions predicted, just at the lower end of the prediction range.

(PS: I like weasels. It's just an expression)

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