Tsunami Damage on Western Coasts Minimal

By | March 11, 2011

The Pacific Warning Tsunami Center said waves that reached Hawaii — up to 7 feet high on Maui — as a result of the 8.9 magnitude earthquake that rocked Japan “are not going to be a major damaging event.” However, tsunami waves have caused scattered damage to harbors and coastal facilities on both Hawaii and California.

In Santa Cruz, Calif., boats have reportedly been damaged, although officials say the extent of damage was limited in large part because tsunami waves struck the California coast at low tide.

Emergency response officials, nevertheless, are warning that Hawaii and California are still under a tsunami advisory. “Sea level changes and strong currents may occur along all coasts that could be a hazard to swimmers and boaters, as well as to persons near the shore at beaches and in harbors and marinas,” the Pacific Tsunami Warning Center said, noting that the advisory does not mean it is safe to return to evacuated areas. “The threat may continue for several hours.”

Instructions to return to evacuated areas will come from state and county civil defense agencies.

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