No major damage reported in San Diego after tsunami warning - CBS News 8 - San Diego, CA News Station - KFMB Channel 8

Japan quake triggers tsunami warning for San Diego; no major damage reported

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SAN DIEGO (CNS) - A tsunami advisory was in effect in the San Diego area Friday in the aftermath of a devastating magnitude-8.9 earthquake in Japan, but as of early afternoon, no major problems had been reported locally.

Waves emanating to the southeast from the epicenter of Thursday night's temblor -- the fifth largest in the world to be recorded since 1900 -- arrived in San Diego County shortly after 8:30 a.m., causing "significant tide fluctuations" in several areas, according to the National Weather Service.

The swells caused the ocean to briefly rise 2.8 feet in La Jolla, 1.2 feet at San Diego Navy Pier and 2.6 feet in northern Imperial Beach, the NWS reported.

Meteorologists and seismologists said local quake-spawned ocean surges could last for 10-12 hours, producing strong currents potentially dangerous for surfers, swimmers, boaters and coastal structures. Irregular stretches of coastline could increase wave heights in some areas.

"There's no reason to be alarmed -- just be aware," said Maurice Luque, a spokesman for the San Diego Fire-Rescue Department. "We don't expect any inundation of water."

About a dozen extra SDFRD lifeguards were called in, just in case, and 30 police officers were patrolling the San Diego coastline.

The U.S. Coast Guard prepared for any tsunami-related emergencies in the San Diego area by readying an MH-60 Jayhawk helicopter, the cutter Haddock and three response boats.

Additionally, a crew from the federal maritime agency's local Incident Management Division was on duty to respond to any pollution that could result from vessel groundings.

The Coast Guard advised boaters to keep their vessels moored until the tsunami advisory is lifted and asked them to monitor VHF Channel 16 for any updates or additional alerts.

At Quivira Basin in Mission Bay, the water level rapidly fell by roughly three feet about 9 a.m., according to Luque. The harbor was returning to its prior level a half-hour or so later.

"It's not disruptive," he said. "It's a very gentle flow of water. It's not knocking boats around on the docks or anything like that."

Out-of-the-ordinary small waves and "unusual ripples" continued to jostle the man-made bay into the early afternoon, Luque said.

In the far northern reaches of the county, the waters of Oceanside Harbor rose two or three feet at one point during the morning, but caused no reported damage, police Lt. Leonard Mata said.

Roughly 15 miles to the south, the ocean pulled back unusually far in the late morning, briefly expanding the width of the shoreline in the area, Solana Beach senior lifeguard Rob McPhee said.

"The average person probably wouldn't have noticed anything unusual, though," he said.

In other local coastal cities, including Encinitas and Del Mar, public-safety personnel noted no effects whatsoever from the tsunami activity.

A man visiting a San Diego beach prior to the arrival of the weak tsunami surges told KUSI he was not concerned.

"Not at all -- people are out, and there's been no warnings or anything, so I think it will be pretty mild," the man, who identified himself only as Richard, told the news station. He added, however, that he would leave if hazard signs were posted.

Earlier in the morning, the tsunami reached Hawaii, where no major problems were reported. When it hit the West Coast of the United States, however, it caused significant damage and swept five sightseers out to sea in Crescent City and southern Oregon, according to news accounts. Four of the victims were rescued, but one remained unaccounted for in the early afternoon.

Some property damage also was reported in Ventura Harbor and other locations, according to the Weather Service.

The quake, believed to be the largest in Japanese history, struck the northeast reaches of the country at 9:45 p.m. Thursday San Diego time, destroying buildings 240 miles away in Tokyo and triggering a 30-foot tsunami.

  • Japan quake triggers tsunami warning for San Diego; no major damage reportedMore>>

  • Tsunami swamps Hawaii beaches, brushes West Coast

    Tsunami swamps Hawaii beaches, brushes West Coast

    Friday, March 11 2011 12:33 PM EST2011-03-11 17:33:39 GMT
    Tsunami waves swamped Hawaii beaches and brushed the U.S. western coast Friday but didn't immediately cause major damage after devastating Japan and sparking evacuations throughout the Pacific. 
    Tsunami waves swamped Hawaii beaches and brushed the U.S. western coast Friday but didn't immediately cause major damage after devastating Japan and sparking evacuations throughout the Pacific. 
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