Tsunami Wave Heights: 1946

The most destructive tsunami in Hawaiʻi occurred on April 1, 1946, following a magnitude 8.1 earthquake in the Aleutian Islands of Alaska. Waves 55 feet high struck the northeast coast of the Big Island. At Hilo, 173 were killed, 163 injured, 488 buildings were demolished and 936 more were damaged. Damage was estimated at $25 million. The waterfront was washed out and breakwater and wharves badly damaged. This tragic loss of life prompted the formation of the Tsunami Warning System.