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chilean earthquake

WASHINGTON – The White House is keeping close watch on the situation in Chile, where a powerful earthquake hit and sent waves across the Pacific Ocean. That’s raised the possibility of a tsunami striking Hawaii.

Presidential press secretary Robert Gibbs says the White House is monitoring the situation, including the potential for a tsunami. Gibbs also says U.S. stands ready to help the Chilean people “in this hour of need.”

The Pacific Tsunami Warning Center issued a tsunami warning — its highest alert — for Hawaii. The first waves were expected to arrive in Hawaii at 4:19 p.m. EST.

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A lower-grade tsunami advisory is in effect for the coast of California and an Alaskan coastal area.

The State Department advises Americans seeking information on family and friends in Chile to contact theBureau of Consular Affairs at 1-888-407-4747.

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Massive Earthquake Strikes Chile; Tsunami Threatens Pacific Rim