Tsunami waves pounded the West Coast this morning as a result of the massive 8.9-magnitude earthquake in Japan. Hawaiians evacuated in a timely fashion and thus far no deaths have occurred as a result of intense swells. A five foot wave struck the Aleutian Islands off Alaska.
Residents of two counties in Washington state were urged to evacuate and in Oregon, “sirens blasted in some coastal communities and at least one hotel was evacuated in the northern part of the state,” CBS reports. The Chicago Sun-Times reports “schools up and down the coast were closed.”
West Coast residents take tsunami threats seriously, since a 1964 tsunami from a 9.2 magnitude earthquake in Alaska hammered Washington State, Oregon and California, killing 128 people.
Oregonians seem to be comfortably gathered at camps and shelters away from the coast, based on this photo essay from OregonLive.com. According to Oregongeology, the state has experienced about a dozen tsunamis with wave heights greater than 3 feet. Ten were generated by earthquakes near Alaska, Chile or Japan.