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World Last Updated: Mar 11th, 2011 - 15:30:48

Tsunami Warning & Advisories Reach U.S. West Coast & Hawaii
David Hope
Mar 11, 2011, 03:52

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Tsunami warnings have reached more than 20 countries this morning. A monstrous 8.9 offshore earthquake trailed by huge tsunamis smashed into northern Japan Friday, causing casualties and much havoc, officials said. Warnings have been issued from Russia to Hawaii and the West Coast of the United States.

The tsunami tidal waves, some as high as 13 feet, kept pounding the region hours after the

earthquake, whose magnitude was revised upward, struck at 2.46 p.m. Tokyo time.

In Tokyo, where even large buildings trembled and some other caught fire, Japanese Prime Minister Naoto Kan urged people to remain calm and "help each other to minimize damage."

The damage was serious and widespread, he said.

The Japanese government estimated 29 deaths and many injuries from the quake and tsunamis, and fires raged at refineries, plants, buildings and other places.

Both the major airports in Tokyo were closed. Television reports said many of the country's nuclear power plants, on which Japan relies heavily, also were automatically shut down as a precautionary step.

Aerial television images showed the tsunamis, one following the other in close succession, washing islands of houses, debris and floating objects including vehicles and even small structures deeper inland as people took refuge at higher locations.

Several vehicles were washed into the seas.

The U.S. Geological Survey said the "mega" quake struck 81 miles off the coast of Sendai, capital of Miyagi Prefecture, more than 230 miles from Tokyo, at a depth of 15 miles. The temblor was followed by a number of powerful aftershocks including one with 7.4-magnitude.

The quake's magnitude was originally reported at 7.9 by Japan's meteorological agency but was revised upward up to 8.9.

Kyodo News reported several people were injured in places including the Miyagi Prefecture and central Tokyo.

Fire department officials in Osaki, Miyagi Prefecture, were quoted as saying they had received at least 20 reports of injuries with some people being hurt by falling objects. Victims were reported trapped under debris.

Tsunami warnings and watches were issued by the Pacific Tsunami Warning Center in Hawaii to several neighboring countries and regions.

Besides Japan, a tsunami warning remained in effect for Russia, Marcus Island and Northern Marianas.

A tsunami watch remained in effect for Guam, Wake Islands, Taiwan, the Philippines, Marshall Islands, Midway Islands, Indonesia, Papua New Guinea, Nauru and Hawaii.

Source: UPI

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