March 11, 2011

Massive 8.9 Earthquake Strikes Japan -- Tsunami Warning for West Coast (Bumped)

Japan Quake 3-11-11.jpg

An earthquake measuring 8.9 on the Richter scale struck 230 miles northeast of Tokyo about two hours ago. According to the U.S. Geological Survey, the quake struck off-shore 81 miles (130 kms) east of Sendai in Honshu at a depth of 15.2 miles (24 kms).

Early helicopter video footage of tsunami waves, reportedly as high as 7.3 meters, is being broadcast showing walls of water pushing everything out of the way.

The entire Pacific Rim is under a tsunami watch.

Hawaii is expected to be hit about 3AM local (8AM EST).

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[Update 0500 EST]

A tsunami warning has been issued all along the U.S. west coast including Alaska. Arrival times for locations on the west coast are detailed here. Unconfirmed, 18 deaths reported in Japan.


Update by Howie @ 6:15 eastern: More here from BBC:

CNN is running a banner saying that officials are worried that some entire islands may have been submerged by the tsunami. They have continuous coverage here on their live blog.


There is a tsunami warning this morning for the west coast of the US. More on that here.

As an aid to my California readers, some of whom are clicking on last year's Alameda blog post about tsunami advisory, let me state here that the coastal areas of Northern and Central California -- from Point Concepion (Santa Barbara County) to the California-Oregon border -- are now under a tsunami warning issued by the West Coast/Alaska Tsunami Warning Center, for waves expected to arrive as early as 7:17 a.m. (Cape Mendocino) and in San Francisco at 8:08 a.m. Friday (today.) You can find the list of expected arrival times along the coast here.
I've added some more video below the fold.

Update 7:45: The sea just receded in Hawaii live coverage here. Looks like those waves are not so bad.

Japanese police report finding 300 bodies so far in one area.

UPDATE by Rusty: To my relatives in Huntington Beach, our prayers are with you.

UPDATE by SH: Waves destroy Crescent City harbor docks. No injuries reported. 100 people at Red Cross Center. Del Norte County Sheriff Cmdr. Bill Steven states: "There's supposed to be larger surges coming in”

UPDATE II by SH: Sources: Radioactive vapor to be released from Tokyo's Fukushima Daiichi power plant. Residents to be evacuated:

Chief Cabinet Secretary Yukio Edano said that all the necessary precautions are being taken to prepare for radiation leaks, including evacuating thousands of residents within a 3-mile radius of the Fukushima facility.
UPDATE by Rusty 1:49 PM: Despite it being early in the recovery, I'm hearing that there could be 1,000+ dead.

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