Hawaii on Tsunami Alert Following Deadly Japan Quake

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AP

An historic 8.9 earthquake in Japan early today triggered a tsunami expected to hit Hawaii this morning. Hotel guests were moved to higher floors as tsunami sirens shrieked, and the islands prepared for potential disaster.

Airports on most Hawaiian islands were shut down – Honolulu was open but turning away flights.

Commercial harbors were closed and vessels were being ordered to leave, though the U.S. military was expected to stay in port in Pearl Harbor.

Mike McCartney, president and chief executive officer of the Hawaii Tourism Association, told the Star Advertiser hotels across the state were telling guest to move to higher floors.

"We are implementing vertical evacuation," McCartney said.

The first wave from the giant earthquake in Japan was expected to hit at around 8 a.m. ET.

Travel blogger Christopher Elliott, on a vacation in Maui with his family, was waiting out the tsunami on the 8th floor of the Grand Wailea hotel. He reports via Twitter the tsunami warning sirens stopped.

"Mood in lobby festive," Elliott tweets. "Looks like we survived."

UPDATE, 9:15 a.m.: CNN reports the first waves have washed onshore in Hawaii. Waves as high as 6 feet measured. Whether there is significant damage is unknown.

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