Tsunami Warning issued for Hawaii, much of Pacific

EWA BEACH (HawaiiNewsNow) -- A Tsunami Warning is now in effect for the state of Hawaii following an 8.9 magnitude earthquake off the east coast of Honshu, Japan.

Scientists at the Pacific Tsunami Warning Center in Ewa Beach said that based on available data, a tsunami may have been generated by the quake. They said the earliest that tsunami waves could reach Hawaii would be at 3:07 a.m. Friday at Nawiliwili Harbor on Kauai. The first waves would reach Honolulu at 3:21 a.m., Kahului at 3:27 a.m., and Hilo at 3:46 a.m.

Tsunami sirens began sounding at 9:59 p.m. on Thursday. They have sounded every hour since 11:15 p.m.

The Tsunami Warning was extended to Guam and Taiwan as well, and the West Coast/Alaska Tsunami Warning Center also issued a warning for much of the coasts of Alaska, Washington, Oregon and California.

Sources are saying it's the worst earthquake ever to strike Japan. It sent people fleeing out of buildings in the capital.

The epicenter is just 231 miles from Tokyo, according to the United States Geological Survey.

Floodwaters rattled buildings and sent cars into the rushing waves. Plus, the quake shook office buildings, sending papers flying, and workers struggling for balance.

On Wednesday and Thursday, two quakes struck off the coast of Honshu. One was magnitude 6.3 and another 7.2. Neither caused significant damage.

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Related: Tsunami Evacuation Maps (from Hawaii State Civil Defense. Scroll to "Tsunami Evacuation Zone Mapping Tool.")

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