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HI tsunami smaller than feared; ports reopened

Associated Press Modified: October 29, 2012 at 1:46 am •  Published: October 29, 2012
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HONOLULU (AP) — Officials in Hawaii reopened the state's ports on Sunday and canceled a tsunami advisory as fears receded that there would be damaging waves from a powerful earthquake off the coast of Canada.

The Pacific Tsunami Warning Center lifted its tsunami advisory just before 4 a.m. local time, three hours after downgrading from a warning and less than six hours after the waves first hit the islands.

The Coast Guard said Honolulu Harbor and all other Hawaii harbors were reopened and operating normally by the afternoon.

Center officials said wave heights had diminished, though swimmers and boaters should be careful of strong or unusual currents.

The biggest waves — about 5 feet high — appeared to hit Maui. A popular triathlon set for the island was expected to go on as planned, with county lifeguards giving the OK for a 1 mile ocean swim.

There were no immediate reports of damage, though one person died in a fatal crash near a road that was closed because of the threat near Oahu's north shore.

Hawaii Gov. Neil Abercrombie said the state was lucky to avoid more severe surges.

"We're very, very grateful that we can go home tonight counting our blessings," Abercrombie said.

Meanwhile, the National Weather Service canceled tsunami advisories for Canada, Alaska, Washington, Oregon and California.

At first, officials said Hawaii wasn't in any danger of a tsunami after the 7.7-magnitude earthquake, which sparked tsunami warnings for southern Alaska and western Canada.

Later, officials issued a warning for Hawaii as well, saying there had been a change in sea readings. About the same time, a tsunami advisory was issued for a 450-mile stretch of U.S. coast running from north of San Francisco to central Oregon.

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