MOCLIPS - About 30 people and 10 dogs were sheltered inside the Fire District 8 Station in Moclips early Friday while others milled around outside, all awaiting news of a wave that wasn't.
Inside the hall, located on high ground, something of a low-key party atmosphere prevailed.
The smell of pancakes and sausage filled the air about 15 minutes before the wave was expected at 7:10 a.m. Some people clustered around a television, while others sat at long tables drinking coffee, chatting and swapping stories about their interrupted vacations.
Elsewhere, Grays Harbor and Pacific county officials said no injuries or property damage were reported, and by mid-morning most of the residents who had voluntarily evacuated low-lying areas were returning home.
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The Tsunami Warning Center in Alaska reported waves rising along the Washington coast nearly a foot in Westport with the largest increase, of 1.7 feet, recorded in La Push shortly after 7 a.m.
Forecasters initially predicted waves would hit 4 feet above normal seas. The largest waves were predicted to hit at Moclips, but some observers there said they saw almost no sign of a tsunami.
Authorities recommended evacuations in select low-lying areas across Grays Harbor and Pacific counties. Emergency personnel helped evacuate residents in Taholah and Moclips as well as Raymond, South Bend, Bay Center, Tokeland and the Long Beach Peninsula.
Westport and Ocean Shores did not issue evacuation notices. The inland cities of Aberdeen and Hoquiam reported no impact from the waves.
Pacific County authorities activated the reverse 911 system to notify residents of the approaching waves. The evacuations went smoothly, and officials also learned some lessons to address in future tsunami warnings, said Bryan Harrison, the county administrative officer.
Fire and police departments along the coast reported few issues. The U.S. Coast Guard station in Westport also reported no issues with distressed vessels or coastal damage.
Several school districts along the coast canceled classes for the day, while many inland schools announced two-hour delays.
Alerts about possible trouble in the North Beach area went out after midnight when Grays Harbor County Sheriff Mike Whelan asked the Fire Department to go door-to-door advising people to evacuate, though it was not mandatory to do so.
At 3:30 a.m., about 12 men and women from the Fire Department joined five deputies and one Washington State Patrol officer. Together they contacted an estimated 150 households in Moclips, Pacific Beach and toward Aloha.
They also put yellow caution tape across beach access approaches. Despite the tape and the warnings, some people still ventured out.
“We always have people going out to watch,” Fire Chief John Collum said. “They know they shouldn’t, but curiosity gets the best of them. It’s a dangerous situation.”
At the fire hall, Kim Shelley, EMT/firefighter at Moclips, was working the griddle, flipping pancakes.
“Everybody was more than grateful for the warning, even at 4 a.m.,” she said.
The predicted time of the initial wave came and went. The water receded just a bit, and the resulting wave was barely noticeable.
State Emergency Services extended the tsunami advisory until noon, but by 9:45 a.m., “Everybody went home anyway,” Collum said. “They decided it was safe enough to go home and they left.”
The Daily News (Longview) contributed to this report.