Maui Tsunami Report
The tsunami caused by the earthquake in Japan on March 11, 2011, also reached Maui, but was not nearly as severe as in Japan.
Hotels and condos evacuated their lower floors. Some people were just moved to higher floors, but many others were moved to higher ground. People gathered at local schools and at the War Memorial Stadium for several hours. Others just went shopping in towns at high elevations, such as Makawao.
Tsunami waves that hit Maui about 8 hours after hitting Japan, were up to 9 feet high in sections of the Maui coast. Some condos and hotels close to the beaches on Maui got ocean water and sand in their first floor lobbies and rooms, and in their parking lots and pools, but buildings were not knocked over or washed away as they were in Japan. Many areas of low-lying roads on Maui were closed for a day. The Honoapiilani Highway connecting West Maui with Central Maui was closed for 9 hours. The main airport on Maui, at Kahului, was closed for about 10 hours. Many boats were damaged in the harbors at Lahaina, Maalaea, and Kahului. Shortly before the waves struck Maui, observers reported seeing the ocean water recede by 100 to 300 yards, exposing the coral and the ocean floor near the shore.
Most hotels and condos had all of the water and sand damage cleaned up within a few days. If you would like to call the hotel or condo where you will be staying on Maui, to ask them about any damage that could affect your visit there, the phone numbers to individual Maui hotels and condos are on the review pages about each property: alphabetical links to Maui hotels and condos reviews.
See videos of Maui tsunami damage below. (Turn on your sound.)
Helicopter aerial tour of damage:
The ocean floor exposed, followed by the ocean coming back in, in Kihei (south Maui):
Slide show of flooded and damaged parks and streets:
Coral exposed on ocean floor when ocean receded on Kaanapali Beach (west Maui):
Boats damaged in Maalaea Harbor:
See the page of Things To Do In Maui for Haleakala, Lahaina, Lavender farm, aquarium, luaus, whale watching, snorkeling, tours, helicopters, horseback riding, dinner cruises, parasailing, fishing, biking, golf, beaches, kids and family fun, and more.