The tsunami warning issued by the Pacific Tsunami Warning Center includes parts of Central and South America, New Zealand, Russia, Japan, the Philippines, Hawaii and a number of Pacific islands.
“Sea level readings confirm that a tsunami has been generated which could cause widespread damage,” reads a bulletin issued by the Pacific Tsunami Warning Center. “Authorities should take appropriate action in response to this threat.”
The Center issued specific warnings for the entire state of Hawaii, saying the first wave of a tsunami could hit at 11:19 a.m. local time.
Hawaiian residents woke to sirens alerting them to the waves. After the sirens have sounded, people in the state’s coastal areas, such as popular tourist spot Waikiki, will be instructed about a possible evacuation. The sirens will also blare once more, three hours before the waves’ estimated arrival time.
According to the bulletin, all shores of each island are under threat, no matter which direction they face.
“A tsunami has been generated that could cause damage along coastlines of all islands in the state of Hawaii,” the bulletin reads. “Urgent action should be taken to protect lives and property.”
In Japan, broadcaster NHK quoted experts who predicted a tsunami could hit Japan in less than 24 hours, and could be tens of centimetres high. In 2001, a tsunami that hit Japan after an 8.4-magnitude earthquake near Chile measured 28 centimetres.
Seismologist Fumihiko Imamura of Japan’s Tohoku University warned Japanese citizens that a tsunami could still be powerful and destructive even if generated by a quake thousands of kilometres away.
“There is the possibility that it could reach Japan without losing its strength,” Imamura said.
Japan’s Meteorological Agency has yet to issue a formal warning.
Read more of the story: Quake triggers tsunami warning; advisory for B.C.