Tsunami hits Hawaii after quake off Canada's Pacific coast

Tsunami hits Hawaii after quake off Canada's Pacific coast

At least 100,000 people in Hawaii were ordered to move from the shoreline to higher ground late on Saturday after a tsunami warning, but the first waves were less forceful than had been feared and no damage was initially reported.

The tsunami, triggered by a powerful earthquake off Canada's Pacific coast, began shortly after 10:30 p.m. Hawaii time, according to the Pacific Tsunami Warning Center, as motorists clogged roadways in a mass exodus from low-lying areas.

"The tsunami arrived about when we expected it should," Senior Geophysicist Gerard Fryer told reporters at a news conference, saying: "I was expecting it to be a little bigger."

The height of the first surge initially was put at 3 feet, but the warning center subsequently reported that early tsunami wave activity peaked at just 2.5 feet at the island of Maui.

There were no immediate reports of serious flooding or damage, but officials warned that additional waves were still possible and that wave heights of up to 6 feet could be reached in some places. Following the initial surge, Honolulu Mayor Peter Carlisle said it was unclear if the worst had yet passed.

"All of these events are capricious, and you can't really tell which wave is going to be packing the most punch, and sometimes it's the second, third or even the very last one," he told CNN, adding that it might be several hours before officials could give the all-clear and cancel the evacuation.

Tsunami warning sirens in the islands were activated on short notice due to initial confusion among scientists about the quake's undersea epicenter.