Friday, March 11, 2011
A mega 8.9-magnitude earthquake — the world’s fifth-largest since 1900 and the biggest in Japan in 140 years, struck Japan 2:46 p.m. local time, shaking buildings violently in Tokyo for several minutes and sending millions fleeing for higher ground.
More than 300 are reported dead in the northeastern city of Sendai in northeastern Japan.
Nearby islands are bracing for the tsunami and warnings have been issued for 53 countries including ones as far as Colombia, Peru, and the United States.
The Kyodo News service reported police finding up to 300 bodies in Sendai, a city of 1 million in northeastern Japan believed to have been hit hardest by the tsunami. Waves 20 feet high, then another 33 feet high washed over the city causing a hotel to collapse and large container ships in port were seen lying on their sides.
Kyodo News reported that a ship carrying 100 people had been carried away by the tsunami and East Japan Railway reports 14 bullet trains were between stations with passengers still aboard, after the quake triggered emergency safety systems. The whereabouts of at least one train near the coast in Miyagi prefecture was unknown late Friday.
Passengers at Tokyo’s Narita International Airport — 81 miles to the south were told to evacuate buildings and head for the tarmac. 1,100 people were stranded and awaiting help in Sendai’s airport terminal. The airport had no power. The runway and roads surrounding the airport were submerged under a layer of muddy water.
Meanwhile, in Hawaii, the islands are under a tsunami warning.
Here in the California, beaches are closed from Morro Bay to Santa Barbara and Redondo Beach. Southland residents are being told to stay away from the ocean until the anticipated tsunami wave hits and the energy dissipates.
This video captures a skyscraper swaying back-and-forth is evidence of the enormous power of the 8.9 earthquake.