EWA BEACH, Hawaii — A tsunami threatened the Pacific Rim on Saturday, with an 8.8-magnitude earthquake off Chile sending potentially deadly waves across the ocean at the speed of a jetliner.
A tsunami warning — the highest alert level — was issued for Hawaii, where emergency officials planned to wake residents with sirens alerting them to the impending waves. Even before daybreak, lines formed at supermarkets with residents stocking up on water, canned food and batteries. Cars lined up 15 deep at several gas stations.
The first waves were expected at 11:19 a.m. Saturday (4:19 p.m. EST; 2119 GMT). Most Pacific Rim nations, awaiting further data, did not order evacuations but advised people in low-lying areas to be on the lookout.
Ecuadorean President Rafael Correa told the Ecuavisa channel that a tsunami has passed the Galapagos Islands, causing a swell but no damage.
Unlike other tsunamis in recent years, emergency officials along the Pacific have hours to prepare and possibly evacuate residents.