Saturday, February 27, 2010

Tsunami warning Hawaii caused by chile earthquake

AFP - The state Department of Transportation is urging all shipping agents and shipping companies to get their ships out of port this morning following an anticipated 6 a.m. tsunami warning.

One cruise ship is scheduled to arrive in Honolulu Harbor for refueling this morning but is scheduled to leave before 6 a.m., DOT spokeswoman Tammy Mori said.

Harbor police are also physically notifying harbor tenants about the warning.

Hawaii was placed on tsunami alert early Saturday after a giant earthquake struck Chile triggering warnings that emergency action should be taken as all its the islands could face damage.

"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.

"Urgent action should be taken to protect lives and property," the Hawaii-based center added.

It warned the first waves could hit at 11:19 am in Hawaii (2119 GMT), and said a tsunami consisted of a long series of ocean waves, with each wave able to last five to 15 minutes.

The center added in its statement that wave heights cannot be predicted and the first wave to hit the coastal ares might not be the highest. Such waves can cause extensive flooding to low-lying areas.

"All shores are at risk no matter which direction they face. The trough of a tsunami wave may temporarily expose the seafloor but the area will quickly flood again," the statement said.

"Extremely strong and unusual nearshore currents can accompany a tsunami. Debris picked up and carried by a tsunami amplifies its destructive power.

"Simultaneous high tides or high surf can significantly increase the tsunami hazard."

The 8.8 quake that struck central Chile early Saturday triggered a tsunami warning across the volatile Pacific rim of fire stretching from Japan to the Antarctic.

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