Tsunami warning issued for Hawaii and Pacific Ocean; tsunami watch issued for West Coast


As reported on CNN, an 8.9-magnitude earthquake hit northern Japan on Friday, triggering tsunamis and sending a massive body of water filled with debris that included boats and houses inching toward highways. This just in from the National Weather service:

A tsunami has been generated that could cause damage along coastlines of all islands in the state of Hawaii. Urgent action should be taken to protect lives and property. The estimated arrival time in Hawaii of the first tsunami wave is 2:59AM HST, Friday March 11th.

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A tsunami watch was just issued for the US West Coast. A Tsunami Watch means that all coastal residents in the watch area should prepare for possible evacuation. ETA for the West Coast is approx 7am local time.

A tsunami is a series of long ocean waves. Each individual wave crest can last 5 to 15 minutes or more and extensively flood coastal areas. The danger can continue for many hours after the initial wave as subsequent waves arrive. Tsunami wave heights cannot be predicted and the first wave may not be the largest. Tsunami waves efficiently wrap around islands. All shores are at risk no matter which direction they face. The trough of a tsunami wave may temporarily expose the seafloor but the area will quickly flood again. Extremely strong and unusual nearshore currents can accompany a tsunami. Debris picked up and carried by a tsunami amplifies its destructive power. Simultaneous high tides or high surf can significantly increase the tsunami hazard.

Stay tuned to your local news station and the National Weather Service for the most recent updates.

Useful links:

Pacific Tsunami Warning Center

West Coast/Alaska Tsunami Warning Center