America

Tsunami Warnings Posted For Hawaii, Western U.S. Coast

(Editors note at 10:15 a.m. ET: We're now live-blogging about the earthquake and tsunamis in a post that's here.)

Following today's deadly earthquake and tsunami in Japan that's killed at least 32 people, the Pacific Tsunami Warning Center predicts the spreading tsunami's first wave may arrive in Hawaii in an hour, or about 3 AM local time and 8 AM Eastern time. The Center added this warning:

A TSUNAMI IS A SERIES OF LONG OCEAN WAVES. EACH INDIVIDUAL WAVE CREST CAN LAST 5 TO 15 MINUTES OR MORE AND EXTENSIVELY FLOOD COASTAL AREAS. THE DANGER CAN CONTINUE FOR MANY HOURS AFTER THE INITIAL WAVE AS SUBSEQUENT WAVES ARRIVE. TSUNAMI WAVE HEIGHTS CANNOT BE PREDICTED AND THE FIRST WAVE MAY NOT BE THE LARGEST.

Hawaii Public Radio's Bill Dorman tells NPR Newscasts Hawaiian authorities want to get everybody at least one mile inland.

Dorman:...the one thing about tsunamis, it doesn't matter which coast you're facing. Because of the nature of how they interact with islands, they surround the island and so low-lying areas on any coast are danger zones.

Now the National Weather Service has issued tsunami warnings and watches for nearly all of the west coast of North America.

NPR's Scott Horsley says President Obama was told of the quake about 4 AM, Eastern. The White House issued a statement, saying President has ordered FEMA to prepare to help Hawaii and any other states or territories that might need aid. The President and Mrs. Obama offered Japan condolences and help in their time of trial.

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