Tsunami warnings were canceled for all countries Sunday, a day after a deadly 8.8-magnitude earthquake struck Chile, forecasters said.
“This bulletin is issued as advice to government agencies,” the Pacific Tsunami Warning Center said in its cancellation advisory.
“Only national and local government agencies have the authority to make decisions regarding any actions to be taken in response.”
Despite the cancellation, Japan remained cautious.
The nation’s meteorological agency opted to downgrade the warning without eliminating it entirely. Its prior alert of “major tsunami” was changed to “tsunami.”
The quake struck at pre-dawn Saturday, killing more than 300 people in Chile and prompting tsunami warnings and advisories along the Pacific. Chilean officials are expected to announce an updated death toll later Sunday.
japan, which was hit my waves along its coast Sunday afternoon, was the last country on the tsunami alert.
No injuries had been reported in Japan, authorities said.
However, they urged tens of thousands of evacuees from coastal areas not to return home yet.
The first tsunami — a 4-inch wave — hit the Pacific island of Minami Torishima, according to the Japanese meteorological agency.
A few waves later, the tallest one yet at about 4 feet hit the Kuji Port in Iwate, the meteorological agency said. The northern part of the main island could be hit by a tsunami at least 9 feet high.
Sunday’s alert was Japan’s first major tsunami warning in more than 15 years, the agency reported. In 1960, a tsunami spawned by Chile’s 1960 earthquake killed 140 people in Japan.
In the U.S. state of Hawaii, the cancellation occurred nearly two hours after the first waves came ashore. Coast Guard crews said they had found no significant damage to ports or waterways as a result of the tsunami.
[2/27/2010 – 6:00 p.m.] – First Tsunami Waves Hit Hawaii
Honolulu, Hawaii — The first waves of a tsunami from a massive earthquake in Chile have hit the Big Island of Hawaii, according to the Pacific Tsunami Warning Center.
The increasing wave heights began shortly around 11:15 a.m. local time (4:15 p.m. EST), more than five hours after alarms sounded to warn of a tsunami caused by the Chile earthquake early Saturday, which killed at least 214 people.
Residents scrambled to stock up on water and food Saturday as sirens blared across the islands ahead of a predicted tsunami, hours after an 8.8-magnitude earthquake struck Chile.
Roads to beaches and other low-lying areas were closed and hotels were evacuating vacationers.
At Honolulu’s Hilton Waikolua Hotel, guests with cars were heading to higher ground and buses were moving hundreds to an evacuation center set up near the hotel.
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[Updated 02.27.10, 1:45 p.m.] –Hawaii Races To Prepare For Tsunami
Sirens sounded early Saturday morning across Hawaii, warning people of a possible tsunami and telling people to in coastal areas to evacuate.
The sirens sounded at 6 a.m. local time (11 a.m. ET/1600 GMT) to warn of a potential tsunami triggered by a 8.8-magnitude earthquake in Chile.
The siren systems in each county are sounding to “to alert residents and visitors to evacuate coastal areas,” Hawaii’s Civil Defense Division said in a statement.
“Residents will be advised by their respective country civil defense or emergency management agencies to evacuate coastal areas.”
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The earliest estimated arrival for a wave that could affect Hawaii is 11:05 a.m. local time (4:05 p.m. ET/2105 GMT), the Pacific Tsunami Warning Center said.