8.9 Earthquake and Tsunami Hit Japan

Update: 2:45 a.m. MT: Evacuations ordered in Hawaii, see Donald's comments below. Here's a live news stream for night owls. The "hit time" is set for about 3:00 am Hawaii time. Coastal inundation zones are most at risk. If you are in one, it's time to evacuate now. The Mayor of Honolulu is on now and he sounds like everything is under control, all the agencies are working with each other -- including police, fireman planning, hospitals, hotels. "Don't believe the worst is going to happen, but prepare for the worst that could happen." He's very calm. They've prepared for the homeless, the animals at the zoo, etc.

The water system will be shut down on Maui around when the tsunami hits so everyone needs to get water. But things should get back to normal quickly.

A huge earthquake, 8.9 in magnitude, has hit Japan, triggering a massive tsunami.[More...]

There are now tsunami warnings out for the Hawaiian Islands.

Tokyo’s Narita airport shut down, Kyodo News reported. Haneda, the capital’s other main airport, was also closed, NHK said. Tokyo Metro, which has more than 6 million passengers a day, stopped operations on its nine subway lines, while the Shinkansen bullet trains also halted. Tokyo port shut all 19 of its water gates as it prepared for the tsunami.

4 million people in Tokyo are without power. The quake struck 237 miles northeast of Tokyo.

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    Be safe, Donald - and thanks so much for (5.00 / 1) (#28)
    by Anne on Fri Mar 11, 2011 at 08:48:44 AM EST
    keeping us updated.  Thank goodness for the time to prepare and evacuate to safety - and that your emergency responders and disaster management people have the protocol down to the last detail.

    Will keep you, your family and all of Hawaii in my thoughts and prayers.

    So good to hear from you, Donald; (none / 0) (#54)
    by Anne on Fri Mar 11, 2011 at 08:19:54 PM EST
    I've been more or less open-mouthed and transfixed by the video coming out of Japan, Hawaii and areas of the west coast of the continental US, trying to comprehend the power that can send water surging thousands of miles...

    And I am overwhelmed by the destruction that has devasted parts of Japan - the death, the debris, the fires, and now what may be a nuclear emergency.

    How fortunate we are - all of us - to have been spared what these people are now dealing with.

    Glad to know you all fared well, that things didn't get to the level they might have...


    Tsunami watch out for entire U.S. west (none / 0) (#1)
    by caseyOR on Fri Mar 11, 2011 at 01:52:36 AM EST
    coast. My late local news is telling me that the tsunami will hit the coast of Washington at around 7 AM, and Oregon's coast at around 7:30 AM. It will work its way south along the U.S. coast.

    severe warning for Hawaii (none / 0) (#2)
    by The Addams Family on Fri Mar 11, 2011 at 02:57:44 AM EST
    Donald from Hawaii, stay safe

    wishing you, yours and the kitty well, Donald. (none / 0) (#23)
    by kempis on Fri Mar 11, 2011 at 08:22:27 AM EST
    Such an awful thing in Japan....I can't bear to see the videos.

    Here's hoping Hawaii escapes the worst of the tsunami. My best to you and all there.


    Please (none / 0) (#9)
    by Ga6thDem on Fri Mar 11, 2011 at 06:04:56 AM EST
    check back and let us know you are okay.

    Be well! (none / 0) (#15)
    by scribe on Fri Mar 11, 2011 at 07:25:04 AM EST
    While we wait for the arrival of the tsunami, it might be useful to recall the warnings came from/through NOAA's Tsunami Warning Center.

    Amazing, the work all those overpaid government employees do and how it comes in handy when nature strikes.  IIRC, the Rethugs wanted to cut a third out of NOAA's budget, in the name of austerity.  Gotta wonder which third they would get rid of....

    Kudos to Google - they've changed their homepage (none / 0) (#17)
    by scribe on Fri Mar 11, 2011 at 07:29:30 AM EST
    to include a tsunami warning in bright red type.

    Nice job!

    Very glad you guys are safe (none / 0) (#18)
    by Militarytracy on Fri Mar 11, 2011 at 07:33:39 AM EST
    And thank you for keeping us all updated.

    the videos are quite (none / 0) (#22)
    by Capt Howdy on Fri Mar 11, 2011 at 08:08:48 AM EST

    Thanks for the updates (none / 0) (#24)
    by jbindc on Fri Mar 11, 2011 at 08:30:40 AM EST
    My aunt lives in Kailua, but she lives on the top of a huge hill, so I think she should be ok.

    Stay safe, Donald.

    Be safe Donald and others n/t (none / 0) (#25)
    by lilburro on Fri Mar 11, 2011 at 08:36:49 AM EST

    Yikes (none / 0) (#26)
    by andgarden on Fri Mar 11, 2011 at 08:39:25 AM EST

    Woke to alarms at 4:40 (none / 0) (#27)
    by waldenpond on Fri Mar 11, 2011 at 08:43:53 AM EST
    Here in N CA.  Our house is above t zones.  Evacuation is recommended not mandatory at this time.  Beaches closed, ship movement blocked, roads into t zones blocked though they did let some media through.  My son and friend are coming here and my bil is not opening up his plant today as they are low.

    Cities hit hard by tsunamis in this region include Ferndale, Scotia, Crescent City etc.

    CNN reports the CA police (5.00 / 1) (#29)
    by scribe on Fri Mar 11, 2011 at 08:50:10 AM EST
    (more unionized government employees) have closed the beaches to everyone, including the CNN reporters.

    the weird part (none / 0) (#30)
    by Capt Howdy on Fri Mar 11, 2011 at 09:27:38 AM EST
    Will March 19 'Supermoon' Trigger Natural Disasters?

    Thu Mar 10, 10:15 am ET

    On March 19, the moon will swing around Earth more closely than it has in the past 18 years, lighting up the night sky from just 221,567 miles (356,577 kilometers) away. On top of that, it will be full. And one astrologer believes it could inflict massive damage on the planet.

    Richard Nolle, a noted astrologer who runs the website astropro.com, has famously termed the upcoming full moon at lunar perigee (the closest approach during its orbit) an "extreme supermoon."

    When the moon goes super-extreme, Nolle says, chaos will ensue: Huge storms, earthquakes, volcanoes and other natural disasters can be expected to wreak havoc on Earth.

    this is acually supposed to peak a week from today.
    next week could be interesting.

    Read about this yesterday, when (5.00 / 1) (#31)
    by Anne on Fri Mar 11, 2011 at 09:34:33 AM EST
     I was checking Accuweather to see if I was going to have to paddle home (there were areas where it was a little dicey), and it was the first thing I thought of when I heard about the quake.

    If nothing else, the moonrise should be phenomenal given how close to the earth the moon will be; last month's full moon was quite impressive, and beautiful, as well.

    Here's hoping this is not the beginning of a week or more of extreme weather and other natural events.


    Unbelievable (none / 0) (#43)
    by mmc9431 on Fri Mar 11, 2011 at 10:57:40 AM EST
    It was absolutely huge! I was driving and made a turn and there it was. The largest moon I've ever seen. I got home and took some pictures of it but unfortunately I'm a lousy photographer.

    Me too (none / 0) (#45)
    by ruffian on Fri Mar 11, 2011 at 11:52:17 AM EST
    It was too hard to pull over at the time for a photo, but it sure was gorgeous. I will look forward to it next week and try to go someplace to get a picture.

    Wow (none / 0) (#33)
    by Militarytracy on Fri Mar 11, 2011 at 10:00:55 AM EST
    I had the radio (none / 0) (#35)
    by brodie on Fri Mar 11, 2011 at 10:09:53 AM EST
    on last night as I was outside checking the night sky, a (pre-taped) interview with that geologist/earthquake predictor Jim Berkland who supposedly predicted the 1989 World Series quake.  Apparently he uses indicia like a spike in lost pets in the days before, plus lunar influence.  

    He was talking about the upcoming March 19 situation with the moon, and (iirc) predicted a major quake would occur between now and 3-19 or so along the eastern edge of the Pacific Rim -- basically the west coast of all the Americas.  I believe he also mentioned the 1000s of dead anchovies situation recently in SoCal (Redondo Beach) and seemed to suggest that might be a relevant predictive factor.

    Then after Berkland had finished, I went inside the house just after 10 pm where the Anderson Copper show was on teevee.  Within a few minutes, he was pre-empted for the breaking story about the Japan quake.  

    Kinda eerie sequence of events.  And I don't believe the radio people already had the news about Japan when they ran the Berkland piece.  Might have been a 5 minute gap between that and the breaking news on CNN.


    I think it's because (none / 0) (#49)
    by jbindc on Fri Mar 11, 2011 at 02:50:58 PM EST
    You folks in Hawaii consume the most Spam (TM) per capita in the US.

    Or it could be related (none / 0) (#50)
    by brodie on Fri Mar 11, 2011 at 03:12:15 PM EST
    to the fact that the earthquake occurred on the same day (3-11) as the opening of the blockbuster alien invasion movie Battle: Los Angeles in theaters today.  Pacific Rim-based mega event, involving a city along the San Andreas Fault.

    And didn't something weird happen along the west coast in 1996 or so when that last major alien invasion movie opened, you know, Independence Day -- major power blackout that day in western states including CA.

    Could be ... could be something in that connection ...


    from the article (none / 0) (#39)
    by CST on Fri Mar 11, 2011 at 10:34:47 AM EST
    "The effect of tides on seismic activity is greatest in subduction zones such as the Pacific Northwest"

    It's certainly possible, I'm not sure about likely - that this had something to do with it.

    Growing up I thought Tsunamis were a made-up disaster because I couldn't fathom something like that actually happening.  Watching it on TV it almost seems like a bad hollywood disaster movie.  Absolutely terrifying in real life though.

    Thoughts are definitely with the pacific right now.


    Don't believe everything you read (none / 0) (#44)
    by Harry Saxon on Fri Mar 11, 2011 at 11:39:42 AM EST
    about earthquakes and lunar tidal influence:

    The moon's orbit is inclined in relation to the Earth, causing the moon's position in the sky to nod north and south on an 18.6-year cycle. Is the observed correlation between the moon's position in its 18.6-year cycle (or any other lunar phase) and earthquake activity a coincidence or something more? That question, Chester said, is best answered by the U.S. Geological Survey. "There's no evidence to support that," said John Bellini, a geophysicist with the survey's National Earthquake Information Center in Golden, Colorado. "There were some studies in the past that tried to link lunar effects to seismicity [the relative frequency and distribution of earthquakes] and there was nothing found."

    Click or Answerland Me


    Like I said (none / 0) (#46)
    by CST on Fri Mar 11, 2011 at 12:45:58 PM EST
    possible - yes, likely - not really.

    But the absence of evidence is not the evidence of absence.


    If the studies have been run (none / 0) (#52)
    by Harry Saxon on Fri Mar 11, 2011 at 04:06:25 PM EST
    I think you can say there is no evidence at the present time.

    Tsunami damage continues (none / 0) (#34)
    by Militarytracy on Fri Mar 11, 2011 at 10:03:54 AM EST
    in Japan.  CNN was just showing footage in real time, poor Japan.

    It's ugly (5.00 / 2) (#36)
    by Ga6thDem on Fri Mar 11, 2011 at 10:15:42 AM EST
    there isn't it? Very sad.

    According to (5.00 / 1) (#40)
    by sj on Fri Mar 11, 2011 at 10:36:19 AM EST
    the AP

    The U.S. Geological Survey said the 2:46 p.m. quake was magnitude 8.9, the biggest to hit Japan since record-keeping began in the late 1800s and one of the biggest ever recorded in the world.



    Photo Gallery over at (5.00 / 2) (#41)
    by ruffian on Fri Mar 11, 2011 at 10:42:27 AM EST
    TPM is the best I've seen of the damage in Japan. I cant stream video at work. It really is heartbreaking. People are going to have a hard time coming back from this, Especially worrying are the petrochemical fires and the problems at the nuclear plants.

    In the spirit of earlier comments, it is worth noting that the damage was mitigated by strict government regulated building codes.


    Last night on CNN (none / 0) (#37)
    by NMvoiceofreason on Fri Mar 11, 2011 at 10:16:21 AM EST
    I saw Sendai - the whole city of Sendai (Miyagi prefecture) wiped out last night live while watching CNN. Ichihara (Chiba prefecture) had aftershocks (7.0 earthquakes!) which ripped the city apart and lit the refinery on fire. Edo (tokyo) is shaken but mostly intact. Hokaido island cannot be contacted (as of 1AM MST) but since it is North of Sendai and closer to the epicenter, expected to be severely damaged.

    Thank goodness the GOP cut our tsunami response budget!

    The rest of us have time to prepare (5.00 / 1) (#38)
    by Militarytracy on Fri Mar 11, 2011 at 10:22:43 AM EST
    Watching Japan right now is heartbreaking.

    Yeah, and CNN is also reporting (none / 0) (#42)
    by scribe on Fri Mar 11, 2011 at 10:44:22 AM EST
    Japanese authorities have announced they have found hundreds of dead bodies in Sendai, and it's the middle of the night there presently.  

    Saw video of the airport at Sendai being overwashed with tsunami. Eesh.

    CNN also reporting 6-7 foot waves on Oahu.


    Wow -- potential TMI (none / 0) (#51)
    by brodie on Fri Mar 11, 2011 at 03:17:33 PM EST
    level nuclear reactor disaster in Japan as govt announces nuclear emergency and evacuation of thousands nearby.