Tsunami warnings issued for Hawaii, California and Oregon

By BNO News

HONOLULU (BNO NEWS) -- Tsunami warnings were issued for the U.S. state of Hawaii and the U.S. West Coast on early Friday morning, officials said, prompting evacuations along coastal shorelines.

The warning and watches were issued after a massive 8.9-magnitude earthquake struck off the coast of northeastern Japan, creating huge tsunamis that have devastated parts of Japan. It was followed by a series of major aftershocks, including one of 7.1 on the Richter scale.

"A tsunami has been generated that could cause damage along coastlines of all islands in the state of Hawaii," the Pacific Tsunami Warning Center said in a bulletin. "Urgent action should be taken to protect lives and property."

Emergency sirens were being sounded across Hawaii, and officials have ordered evacuations of coastlines in case a large tsunami reaches the islands.

For the mainland of the United States, the West Coast and Alaska Tsunami Warning Center has issued a tsunami warning for coastal areas of California and Oregon from Point Concepcion to the Oregon-Washington border. A warning is also in effect for the coastal areas of Alaska from Amchitka Pass to Attu.

In addition, a tsunami advisory has been issued for the coastal areas of California from the California-Mexico border to Point Concepcion. Advisories are also in effect for the coastal areas of Washington.

A Tsunami Advisory means that a tsunami capable of producing strong currents or waves dangerous to persons in or very near the water is expected. Significant, widespread inundation is not expected for areas under an advisory. Currents may be hazardous to swimmers, boats, and coastal structures and may continue for several hours after the initial wave arrival.

A Tsunami Watch means that all coastal residents in the watch area should prepare for possible evacuation. A tsunami watch is issued to areas which will not be immediately impacted by the tsunami. Watch areas will either be upgraded to warning or advisory status, or canceled.

And a tsunami warning is issued when a potential tsunami with significant widespread inundation is imminent or expected. Warnings alert the public that widespread, dangerous coastal flooding accompanied by powerful currents is possible and may continue for several hours after arrival of the initial wave.

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