HONOLULU (AP) - Hawaii Governor Linda Lingle has issued a disaster declaration for the entire state after a strong 6.6 earthquake hit the islands.
Power outages were reported across the state and there were unconfirmed reports of injuries, according to the State Civil Defense. Problems with communication prevented more definite reports.
Gov. Linda Lingle said in a radio interview with KSSK from Hawaii Island that she had no report of any fatalities. She said boulders fell on highways, rock walls fell down and television had been knocked off of stands, she had no reports of building damage.
The quake occurred at 7:07 a.m. local time, 10 miles north-northwest of Kailua Kona, a town on the west coast of the Big Island, said Don Blakeman, a geophysicist at the National Earthquake Information Center, part of the U.S. Geological Survey.
The U.S. Geological Survey reported the quake had a preliminary magnitude of 6.6, along with several aftershocks, including one measuring a magnitude of 5.8.
Blakeman said there was no risk of a Pacific-wide tsunami, but a possibility of significant wave activity in Hawaii.
On Hawaii Island, also known as the Big Island, there was some damage in Kailua-Kona and landslide along a major highway, said Gerard Fryer, a geophysicist at the Pacific Tsunami Center.
Officials were concerned there may be "structural integrity" problems at the big hospital in Kona in the Big Island, Lingle said. New patients were being accepted, but kept outside.
Betsy Garties, who lives in North Kohala, on the northern tip of Hawaii Island said she was lying in bed with one of her two young children when the quake struck.
"First I heard a rumbling. Then the house started to shake. Then broken glass," Garties said. She first stood under a door frame as safety experts advise, then found that too wobbly for comfort and ran into the yard.
"It was strong enough that it was wobbling, so you almost lost your balance running out into the yard," Garties said. "The house was visibly rocking."
Peggy Cardoza, an assistant manager at a fast food restaurant in Hilo, said she was at work when the earthquake struck.
"We just felt the ground shaking," Cardoza said. "We just stood here and watched everything shake."
Power at least partially knocked out on every island, said Civil Defense spokesman Lani Goldman. On Oahu, 95 percent of customers were without power, he said.