Less severe earthquake strikes near last month's
No damage or injuries are reported after the 5.0-magnitude temblor
A 5.0-magnitude earthquake rattled more nerves than anything else yesterday, but the state celebrated Thanksgiving relatively unscathed.
The quake, which occurred at 9:20 a.m., struck about 15 miles north of Kailua-Kona on the Big Island, or 155 miles southeast of Honolulu, near the same spot as last month's 6.7-magnitude earthquake.
The Oct. 15 quake caused millions of dollars in damage, turned Hawaii into a federal disaster area, moved homes off foundations and nearly crippled Kona Community Hospital.
No major damage or injuries were reported yesterday, said state Civil Defense spokesman Ray Lovell. Civil Defense also announced through the emergency alert system that no tsunami had formed.
The quake's magnitude was initially reported as 4.5 by the Pacific Tsunami Warning Center but was later upgraded, said Brian Shiro, a geophysicist at the center.
"The reason why it was felt across the islands was because the earthquake was deep, about 41 kilometers," Shiro said. "Deep earthquakes like that tend to be felt over a large distance."
Big Island Civil Defense Administrator Troy Kindred said there were scattered reports of power failures on the western areas of the Big Island, but no reports of injuries or major damage were called in.
"We had federal, state and county representatives out there right away," Kindred said.
However, the quake triggered a small landslide that closed Highway 19 along the Hamakua Coast near Laupahoehoe for about an hour and a half.
Crews cleared debris and boulders from the two-lane road, which reopened shortly after 11 a.m., said Scott Ishikawa, state Department of Transportation spokesman.
Last month's quake knocked out power across almost the whole state, shutting down Honolulu Airport in the process, but no major power failures occurred yesterday, said Hawaiian Electric Co. spokesman Jose Dizon.
The quake cut power to about 5,900 customers in North Kohala from Puuanahulu to Kalaoa beginning at 9:20 a.m., according to Hawaiian Electric Light Co. Power was restored to all customers by 10:41 a.m. after crews fixed a problem at the company's Huehue Substation that was caused by the quake.
At Kona Community Hospital it was a case of "Oh no, not again."
"It felt like the other earthquake. It was scary. It was strong," said nursing supervisor Kathy Kotecki. "It shook a little, and it stopped for maybe a second, then it shook again for a really long time."
Hospital officials evacuated 69 patients last month after the quake shook ceiling tiles loose and knocked equipment to the floor.
There were no evacuations yesterday, just some minor cracks found on the walls, some objects that fell off shelves and air-conditioning units that turned off, Kotecki said.
"I think it was more emotionally upsetting for everybody," Kotecki said.
Raymond Yamasaki, whose house was shifted by last month's quake, couldn't agree more.
The 64-year-old's Waimea home was shaken off its foundation three feet last month, wedging his front door shut. He escaped by busting the door open with a hammer.
Yamasaki wasn't even done fixing his 33-year-old home's foundation when yesterday's quake hit. He and his family left the home immediately, but his home was unscathed.
He is hoping to pour some concrete foundation to support the wooden legs for his home. Although yesterday's quake was not as big, Yamasaki said, "it's getting too close for comfort."
"Although it make my hair turn white, we turned out OK," he said.
Star-Bulletin reporter Alexandre Da Silva contributed to this report.