8.8 earthquake rocks Chile; tsunami warnings issued for Hawaii and California
February 27, 2010
A devastating 8.8 magnitude earthquake hit Chile Saturday morning, setting off a tsunami threatening California, Hawaii, and every Pacific Ocean nation. [Washington Post]
Interior Minister Edmundo Perez Yoma said this morning’s quake was the most powerful tremor to hit his country in 50 years. At least 140 people have died and the death toll is expected to rise quickly. The 8.8 tremor was the fifth strongest earthquake on record since 1900.
The epicenter of the quake was 200 miles southwest of the capital city of Santiago. Many roads were destroyed, and water, electricity, and phones lines were cut to many areas–making communication impossible.
Experts warn that a tsunami could strike anywhere in the Pacific Ocean. Hawaii has been put on alert to expect its largest waves since 1964. Tsunami waves are likely to hit Asian, New Zealand, and Australian shores in the next 24 hours. Alaska and the U.S. West Coast, including California, are also under warning.
Ron Alsop, San Luis Obispo County Emergency Services Manager, announced that a “tsunami advisory” had been issued for the entire California coastline, including the Central Coast.
Officials are projecting a possible 4.6 foot wave to hit Pismo Beach and a possible 3 foot wave for Port San Luis.