UPDATE: A powerful surge hit Santa Cruz at approximately 11:15 this morning, overturning boats and damaging dozens of boats at the U-Dock. The dock itself was also damaged, with one spectator commenting that it looks like it was hit by an explosion.
The first waves hit Monterey Harbor at 7:50 am, though they were described by eyewitnesses as resembling a river’s surge, rather than an actual wave. The water ebbed and swelled throughout the morning, as spectators stood around watching. According to the weather service, the waves could continue for as long as ten hours from the initial wave.
Japan is still reeling from the effects of the earthquake and the ensuing tsunami. There have been at least 100 aftershocks of magnitude 5.0 or higher since the original quake. International observers are keeping a close eye on the six reactors at the Fukushima Nuclear Power Plant, which was damaged. Though no leakage has been reported as yet, several thousand residents have been evacuated. In his press conference this morning, President Obama announced that the U.S. is sending coolant to the reactor. The Japanese authorities have announced that they plan to release a small cloud of “slightly radioactive” vapor from the plant in order to release pressure inside. According to the Japanese Ministry of Trade, pressure inside the damaged reactor is 2.1 the capacity for which it was designed.
Read More at The Mercury News.
Read More at the LA Times.
UPDATE: Several waterside roads in Santa Cruz have been closed due to tsunami warnings. Roads closed include Beach Street near the Wharf, Riverside Avenue and Laurel Street near Third Street and Pacific Avenue near Center Street. The Boardwalk and Wharf have also been closed.
Capitola Village has been closed, and about 6,600 people have been evacuated in the county in preparation for a possible tsunami. Officials caution residents to avoid going to the waterfront to see the possible surge.
Read More at KION
A tsunami warning has been issued for most of the West Coast of the U.S. and Canada, following the disastrous 8.9 earthquake in Japan earlier this morning. In the South Bay, a warning has been issued for the Santa Cruz County community of Davenport, with an ETA of 7:39. The wave is not expected to be higher than one foot, though residents are advised to remain off the beaches until further advisement. Officials also warn that the initial wave in a tsunami is not necessarily the largest or most dangerous, and that the danger period can last for several hours after that wave strikes. Tsunami waves have already hit Hawaii.
Google has already sprung into action to assist in the rescue efforts in Japan. Early this morning it launched special versions of its People Finder program in Japanese, English and Chinese, to help locate people affected by the earthquake. Thousands of reports have already been filed there both from people searching for information about loved ones and wanting to report on the status of people in the earthquake zone.
Read More at The Mercury News.