At 10 p.m. Thursday, the sirens started. Melanie and Phil Pennino were in their sixth-floor room at the Marriott's Maui Ocean Club in Lahaina, Hawaii.
Announcements from hotel staff telling guests to stay in their rooms followed the sirens that sounded every hour. The first and second floor were evacuated.
Anxious guests prepared for the possible tsunami traveling across the ocean from Japan.
The couple barely slept, and around 4 a.m., they heard the waves get louder as they crashed against the shore. The couple had a view of Ka'anapali Beach from their room.
"When we woke up, at first, you could see part of the reef and rocks on the beach. Then, you'd turn around and there was no beach, and water was up to the vegetation," she said.
They are among several Lodi residents who either were stuck in tsunami areas or fretted about loved ones located in Japan. As the day progressed, some worried families received the phone calls they had been waiting for letting them know their family was safe.
That was the case for Masayuki Hattori, the owner of Yume, the new Japanese restaurant on Turner Road.
Hattori has family members in Shizuok, Japan, and his father owns a restaurant there. He spent all morning calling his family repeatedly and finally heard back from them around 3:30 p.m. on Friday.
"My family lives close to the ocean. That's why I was worried about the tsunami," he said.
A tsunami did not hit the town, which is fortunate, because it is only three minutes from the ocean. His family said there was continuous shaking.
For Lodi residents Wayne and Karen West, it was a long day waiting for updates from their son, David West. The
St. Mary's High School graduate was on a tarmac in an airport in Tokyo waiting for his plane to take off when the shaking started.
They rushed back to the terminal, and passengers had to wait in a small holding area, Karen West said.
"My daughter-in-law called us about 12 (a.m.) last night to just let us know he was safe, so we wouldn't wake up and be shocked to see it on the television this morning," Karen West said.
David West and the rest of the passengers couldn't roam the rest of the airport because they already had passed through immigration.
As of Friday afternoon, he was still waiting to get on a plane, and his wife was planning to video chat with him from her home in Camarillo.
This was his second trip to Japan with his company, Amgen, and he had been there for a week.
"I hope this doesn't happen again," Karen West said.
Kofu, Japan is one of Lodi's Sister Cities, and this year marks the 50th anniversary of the cities' relationship, committee member Bob Takeuchi said.
He has distant relatives in Hiroshima, and has been calling them to find out how they are doing. He also is concerned about his sister, who is on a cruise ship from Hong Kong to Vietnam. He hasn't heard from her.
He has been to Japan and never experienced an earthquake, but knows they are common.
"The aftermath of the tsunamis are just as devastating," Takeuchi said.
Coincidentially, the committee is holding a fundraiser today at the Japanese Community Hall, 210 E. Elm St., Lodi. Tickets are $40 a person. For more information, call 369-9539.
On Friday afternoon, Melanie Pennino said they made it to the airport and their plane was still scheduled to take off in time.
While driving across the island, they saw highways where water had washed over the road, and standing water in some places.
Earlier that morning, around 9 a.m., the couple was allowed out of their hotel room. They walked on the beach and saw some of the reef jutting out of the water. Some of the locals said they have never seen it that far out of the water before.
She said people were roaming the beach, and it was a beautiful day, but no one was going in the water.
"The local guys said there were some interesting currents out there," she said. "I don't think I would have gone snorkling."