Saturday, February 27, 2010

Tsunami advisory for Hawaii

UPDATE:
I have since put up two posts, one related to general information about the tsunami and one about my own personal (and highly mundane) experiences.

ORIGINAL POST:
The massive 8.8-magnitude earthquake that struck Chile about two and a half hours ago apparently produced a local tsunami wave at least nine feet high. And while Chile is thousands of miles of open ocean away from Hawaii, there is concern of a wave coming here:
The Pacific Tsunami Warning Center has issued a tsunami advisory for the state following a strong earthquake this evening near the coast of Chile.

At 9:45 p.m. Hawaii time, the warning center said sea level readings indicated that a tsunami was generated.

The magnitude 8.8 earthquake was reported at 8:34 p.m. Hawaii time and was centered near the coast of Chile.

An advisory was issued for Hawaii and forecasters said there is a possibility that the advisory could be elevated to a watch or warning. If tsunami waves reach the Islands, their earliest arrival time is estimated at 11:19 tomorrow morning.

A tsunami warning is in effect for Chile and Peru. A tsunami watch was in effect for Ecuador, Colombia, Antarctica, Panama and Costa Rica.

The Associated Press reported that buildings shook and collapsed in Santiago, Chile. Phone lines were down in the country, making confirmation of damage difficult, especially further south toward the epicenter. The quake was felt in Argentina as well.

The quake hit 197 miles (317 kilometers) southwest of the capital, Santiago, and at a depth of 36.9 miles (59.4 kilometers) at 3:34 a.m. Chile time.

Its epicenter was just 75 miles from Concepcion, Chile's second-largest city, where more than 200,000 people live along the Bio Bio river, and 60 miles from the ski town of Chillan, a gateway to Andean ski resorts that was destroyed in a 1939 earthquake.
These things are always a bit unnerving, but they rarely turn out to be anything. It's a bit like the "tornado watch" that would flash across the screen during the summers I spent in Minnesota when I was a kid. At any rate, I'm a mile or so inland, so I'm sure things will be all right.

Of course, our prayers should be with the people of Chile, especially when we are only now finding out how extensive the damage has been from this quake.
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