via CNN

A tsunami spawned by an earthquake in Canada sent waves and fear thousands of miles away to Hawaii, where some residents scrambled to higher land and prepared for a fierce impact.

While the waves that lashed Hawaii early Sunday may have been smaller than originally feared, the danger has not yet passed, officials said.

The Pacific Tsunami Warning Center had forecast waves between 3 and 7 feet, and all Hawaii islands were at risk of impact.

But the first waves to hit Honolulu didn’t seem much stronger than usual.

Scientists said don’t be fooled by the initial waves, which often aren’t the biggest.

“It’s not just one wave, it’s a succession of waves,” Gerard Fryer, senior geophysicist at the center, told reporters. He said the tsunami could last for hours.

Hawaii State Civil Defense said Wailoa Harbor, on the Big Island, reported a series of 4-foot waves every six minutes.

Even a 3-foot wave could flood several blocks from the shore, Fryer said.

“It probably wouldn’t knock the buildings down, but it would flood them. Everything on the ground would be bascially destroyed by saltwater,” he said.

“A 3-foot wave coming into a narrow channel can rise up into a vertical wall, and that will knock you down and beat you up and maybe drown you.”

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