Following a large earthquake in Chile that has reportedly killed hundreds, tsunami warning and evacuations are underway in coastal areas across the world.
According to a White House pool report President Barack Obama says he has met with his national security team, and steps are being taken "to protect our own people," including tsunami warnings for Hawaii, Guam and American Samoa. The president added later that residents on the West Coast should also be alert.
"The most important thing you can do is carefully heed the instructions of your state and local officials."
In Hawaii, KITV.com has live video of tsunami news as beaches have been evacuated across the islands.
Hawaii's Civil Defense Division, citing the warning center, said the first waves would be at Hilo. Gov. Linda Lingle said she has declared a state of emergency in advance.
Speaking to reporters, she urged people to listen to local officials. "I think the success that we're going to have in addressing this emergency is really on the shoulders of the people of Hawaii," she said.
Pacific Tsunami Warning Center Director Charles McCreery said there was no possibility that Hawaii would not see an effect from the earthquake
MissSimone is in Maui and updating her twitter account:
PA systems will be broadcasting news in the airports. Access roads to & from the airports are closed.
1/2 hour prior to Tsunami arrival sirens are going off now.
KITV4 is also twittering updates for Hawaiians and reports of grocery stores being overrun by those stocking up.
Costco Waipio is now allowing non-members in. Iwilei & Hawaii Kai are closed due to being near inundation zones.
In 1960, a tsunami triggered by an earthquake on South America's west coast, destroyed much of downtown Hilo and killed 61 people, according to the U.S. Geological Survey.
Are you in Hawaii or have family there? What about Chile and other areas in and near the Pacific affected? Send us your photos, stories, and links as we watch and wait.
Politics & News Contributing Editor Erin Kotecki Vest
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