Great earthquake rocks Chile; NYC gets 4th greatest snow ever; Xynthia batters Europe

By: Dr. Jeff Masters , 5:26 PM GMT on February 27, 2010

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A great earthquake with magnitude 8.8 rocked the coast of Chile at 6:34 GMT this morning, generating a potentially dangerous tsunami that is racing across the Pacific Ocean. The great quake is the 7th most powerful tremor in world history (Figure 1). Preliminary tsunami wave heights for the California coast near Santa Barbara are 2 - 2.5 feet. The wave is expected to arrive between 12:15 - 12:35 pm PST. The tsunami is expected to arrive in Hawaii between 11:05 - 11:42am HST, with a wave 8.2 feet high expected in Hilo, on the Big Island. A tsunami from the 9.5 Magnitude 1960 earthquake in Chile killed 61 people in Hilo. Today's quake was so strong, that it triggered a seiche in Lake Pontchartrain, Louisiana, over 4,500 miles (7,000 km) away. The lake sloshed back and forth, creating a wave 0.4 - 0.51 feet on either side of the lake.


Figure 1. Wikipedia's list of strongest earthquakes of all-time.

Preliminary tsunami amplitude forecasts:

La Jolla, CA 2.3 ft
Los Angeles, CA 2.0 ft
Malibu, CA 2.6 ft
Pt. San Luis, CA 2.3 ft
Half Moon Bay, CA 2.6 ft
Crescent City, CA 1.7 ft
Morro Bay, CA 2.2 ft
Santa Monica, CA 3.3 ft
San Francisco, CA 0.7 ft
Pismo Beach, CA 4.6 ft

Hilo, HI 8.2 feet 11:5am HST
Honolulu, HI 1.6 ft 11:37am HST
Kahului, HI 7.2 ft 11:26am HST
Nawiliwili, HI 3.0 ft 11:42am HST
Haleiwa 1.6 ft
Kawaihae 2.0 ft

Port Orford, OR 0.7 ft

Moclip, WA 1.3 ft

Seward, AK 1.3 ft
Stika, AK 1.3 ft
Kodiak, AK 2.3 ft

Tofino, British Columbia 1.7 ft

Today's great quake occurred at the boundary between the Nazca and South American plates about 325 km southwest of the capital Santiago (population 5.3 million). The depth was estimated at 35 km. At least four aftershocks of magnitude 6 or higher have occurred, the largest being a 6.9 aftershock. Fortunately, the area close to the epicenter is relatively sparsely populated, but there may be heavy damage in ConcepciĆ³n (est. pop. 300,000) and Chillan (est. pop. 170,000), which lie 115 km and 100 km to the south of the epicenter, respectively.


Figure 2. NOAA's preliminary forecast of tsunami wave energy for today's earthquake. Image credit: NOAA Tsunami Warning Center.

New York City slammed with its 4th largest snowstorm on record
The snow from the fourth extreme snowstorm to wallop the Northeast U.S. this winter dumped a remarkable 20.9" of snow on New York City's Central Park yesterday and Thursday. This is the 4th largest snowstorm for the city in recorded history. According to the National Weather Service, the top ten snowstorms on record for New York City's Central Park are:

26.9" Feb 11-12, 2006
26.4" Dec 26-27, 1947
21.0" Mar 12-14, 1888
20.9" Feb 25-26, 2010
20.2" Jan 7-8, 1996
19.8" Feb 16-17, 2003
18.1" Mar 7-8, 1941
17.7" Feb 5-7, 1978
17.6" Feb 11-12, 1983
17.5" Feb 4-7, 1920

The storm also helped New York City set a new all-time snowfall record for the most snow ever recorded in a month--36.9". The old record was 30.5", set in March 1896. However, the old Lower Manhattan WB Station recorded 37.9" in February 1894. Yesterday's snowstorm puts New York City's snow for the 2009 - 2010 season at 51.4", making it the 11th snowiest winter since 1869. Chris Burt, author of Extreme Weather, lists the city's all-time seasonal snowfall record at 81.5", set in the winter of 1867 - 1868. This measurement came before official records began in Central Park, and were done be the NY Park Commissioners (see "Annual Report NY Park Commissioners", 1868, by John B. Marie). The second snowiest winter in NYC occurred during the winter of 1995 - 1996, when 75.6" fell.

Destructive Winter Storm Xynthia battering Portugal and Spain
A powerful 969 mb low pressure system named "Xynthia" is rapidly intensifying of the coast of Spain, and stands poised to deliver a devastating blow to Portugal, Spain, and France today and tomorrow as it powers through Europe. Sustained winds of 60 mph (96 km/hr) were reported today at a Personal Weather Station in Costa del Morte, Spain. The pressure fell to 969 mb as Xynthia passed overhead. For comparison, Winter Storm Klaus had a minimum pressure of 967 mb. Klaus, which hit northern Spain and southwest France January 23 - 25, was Earth's most costly natural disaster of 2009, causing $5.1 billion in damage and killing 26. Models predict that Xynthia will continue to intensify today, reaching 962 mb as it moves into the west coast of France Sunday morning. Sustained winds of 50 - 65 mph (80 - 105 km/hr) with hurricane-force gusts up to 100 mph (160 km/hr) are possible along the north coast of Spain tonight and the west coast of France on Sunday as Xynthia barrels through. The storm is also bringing an exceptionally moist plume of tropical moisture ashore, as seen in precipitable water imagery from NOAA (Figure 4). This moisture is likely to cause moderate to severe flooding in portions of Europe over the weekend.


Figure 3. Visible satellite image at 12 GMT of Xynthia.


Figure 4. Satellite measurements show a region of extremely high atmospheric moisture is associated with Winter Storm Xynthia. This moisture will surge over Portugal and Spain today, potentially creating serious flooding. Image credit: Sheldon Kusselson, NOAA/NESDIS.

Links to follow:
Wundermap for Northwest Spain
Spanish radar
Meteo-France
Portugese radar

Jeff Masters

Central Park 26Feb10 (MickyDee)
the BIG one Taken in Manhattan
Central Park 26Feb10
Tree 1, House 0 (Backbaybob)
This cottage was no match for 65 mph wind and an old pine tree.
Tree 1, House 0

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i have this here from cnn that high way 19 in Hawaii has been shut down
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Quoting stormsurge39:
how come the height of the waves cant be determined for Hawaii before impact?


Umm, I believe the height is right in Dr. Masters' blog, unless I misunderstand you(?)

Levi, Bordo, Dan, Pat... a lot of bloggers...were kind enough to explain why the SURGE is so hard to determine...see previous pages.
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Quoting stormsurge39:
how come the height of the waves cant be determined for Hawaii before impact?


They can be estimated but it's not an exact science. They usually get them pretty close though.
Member Since: November 24, 2005 Posts: 635 Comments: 26701
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Does anyone have any idea when the CPHC is going to update its archives with last year's storms?
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how come the height of the waves cant be determined for Hawaii before impact?
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As I watch Live Streaming of Waikiki Beach surf there seems to be a lot of Police telling the people walking around to get out of the area....

Heck I think I would have been gone hours ago....

Taco :0)
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Quoting hydrus:
you keep saying that Pat, now I want one just in case....LOL


Pretty much wait and see for now... 2012 included... maybe the next time the Jehovah's Witnesses knock I'll ask for their supply catalog. Usually we just scare them away...and I don't just mean the canine ankle-biters...

Hydrus, the other day you asked me what St. John's Wort is, but I was off-blog.

It's an over-the-counter herb, usually in capsules, which is supposed to help with depression "naturally."

However, there is a time and a place for prescription medicine...and I do believe today may quality... :)
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San Diego should have been hit just now. Any updates?
Member Since: July 8, 2005 Posts: 259 Comments: 24580
156. Skyepony (Mod)
A TSUNAMI HAS BEEN OBSERVED AT THE FOLLOWING SITES

LOCATION LAT LON TIME AMPL
------------------------ ----- ------ ------- -----------
BALTRA ECUADOR 0.4S 90.3W 1430UTC 0.45M/1.5FT
QUEPO COSTA RICA 9.4N 84.2W 1417UTC 0.27M/0.9FT
SANTA CRUZ GALAPAGOS E 0.5S 90.2W 1241UTC 1.07M/3.5FT
MANZANILLO MEXICO 19.0N 104.2W 1709UTC 0.43M/1.4FT
RIKITEA FR. POLYNESIA 23.1S 135.0W 1534UTC 0.27M/0.9FT
ACAPULCO MEXICO 16.8N 99.9W 1804UTC 0.54M/1.8FT
CABO SAN LUCAS MEXICO 22.5N 109.5W 1758UTC 0.33M/1.1FT
CHATHAM ISLAND NZ 44.0S 176.4W 1844UTC 0.24M/0.8FT
HIVA OA MARQUESAS FR. 9.8S 139.0W 1710UTC 3.14M/10.3FT
PAPEETE FR. POLYNESIA 17.5S 149.6W 1808UTC 0.22M/0.7FT



TSUNAMI FORECASTS AT SELECTED POINTS - MORE ON WEB SITE
LA JOLLA CA 0.8M/2.6 FT LOS ANGELES CA 0.8M/2.6 FT
MALIBU CA 1.0M/3.3 FT PISMO BEACH CA 1.4M/4.6 FT
HALF MOON BAY CA 1.0M/3.3 FT SAN DIEGO CA 0.4M/1.3 FT
HUMBOLDT BAY CA 0.4M/1.3FT CRESCENT CITY CA 0.6M/2.0 FT
SANTA MONICA CA 1.2M/3.9 FT MOCLIPS WA 0.4M/1.3 FT
SANTA BARBARA CA 0.8M/2.6 FT LAGUNA BEACH CA 0.9M/2.9 FT
SEWARD AK 0.4M/1.3 FT KODIAK AK 0.7M/2.3 FT
FORECASTS INDICATE THE EXPECTED HEIGHT ABOVE NORMAL SEA LEVEL.
TSUNAMIS ARE EXPECTED TO PEAK TWO TO FOUR HOURS AFTER ARRIVAL.

TIME - TIME OF MEASUREMENT
AMPL - TSUNAMI AMPLITUDES ARE MEASURED RELATIVE TO NORMAL SEA LEVEL.
IT IS ...NOT... CREST-TO-TROUGH WAVE HEIGHT.
VALUES ARE GIVEN IN BOTH METERS(M) AND FEET(FT).

Member Since: August 10, 2005 Posts: 227 Comments: 39469
CIVIL DEFENSE IN THE STATE OF HAWAII

TSUNAMI WARNING
TIME TILL IMPACT 48 MINUTES
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Quoting AllyBama:
All of this unsettled, shifting of the earth is making me nervous - especially since I am going on a cruise to Central American next week..geez



Ally, that might actually be a God-send, if you can go. I don't know which cruise line you're taking, but Royal Caribbean for one has been of enormous help in Haiti (and that's according to GrtLakesQuest Doctor friend who was in Haiti, not just their P.R.)

Maybe your cruise line/airline(?) would waive baggage restrictions for you, if you drop off supplies... I know you participate in some relief efforts.

Royal Caribbean cruiseline Humanitarian Relief
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In a small way..calamity my have been avoided wholesale in Chile due to the depth and location of the Quake.
All the Major Shaking was focused in relatively sparse populated regions with the nearest Large population centers although heavily damaged,..most reports are encouraging.

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152. xcool
go down hill soon
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Quoting AwakeInMaryland:


Keeper, I really appreciate these -- you're a good T.D. (Technical Director)... the off-site control room in Maryland has been pretty busy...
not a problem AIM hopefully this is nothing but a 2 footer but one never knows the intention of mom nature
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Quoting TampaSpin:
NEW Alarm just triggered

Station 46412 (LLNR 1) - 190 NM West-Southwest of San Diego, CA



Main tsunami due to arrive in about seven minutes.
Member Since: August 30, 2008 Posts: 8 Comments: 2836
Another strong aftershock of magnitude 6.3 detected offshore of Valparaiso, Chile, exactly an hour ago:

Link
Member Since: November 24, 2005 Posts: 635 Comments: 26701
Quoting TampaSpin:
New Station Alarm was triggered

Station 54401 - 640NM Northeast of Auckland, New Zealand



Hmm, frontal waves arriving almost an hour early.
Member Since: August 30, 2008 Posts: 8 Comments: 2836
CIVIL DEFENSE IN THE STATE OF HAWAII

TSUNAMI WARNING
TIME TILL IMPACT 63 MINUTES
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Quoting AwakeInMaryland:


Keeper, I really appreciate these -- you're a good T.D. (Technical Director)... the off-site control room in Maryland has been pretty busy...


I'm a good TD haha :P
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Quoting KEEPEROFTHEGATE:
CIVIL DEFENSE IN THE STATE OF HAWAII

TSUNAMI WARNING
TIME TILL IMPACT 76 MINUTES


Keeper, I really appreciate these -- you're a good T.D. (Technical Director)... the off-site control room in Maryland has been pretty busy...
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Connecting to Hawaii webcams pretty difficult. If you already have a stream don't disconnect.
Member Since: August 22, 2008 Posts: 12 Comments: 6010
i did not no Chile had freeways back there
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Quoting Patrap:
Mayan calenders continue to sell briskly worldwide.


Kind of heavy to hang on the wall though aren't they? or even worse, to carry around with you! ;)
Member Since: August 22, 2008 Posts: 12 Comments: 6010
Quoting TampaSpin:
NEW Alarm just triggered

Station 46412 (LLNR 1) - 190 NM West-Southwest of San Diego, CA



That puts the tsunami just over an hour from Hawaii, which is on schedule with the estimated time of arrival at just after 4pm eastern time.

Technically the tsunami should be hitting New Zealand right now.

Member Since: November 24, 2005 Posts: 635 Comments: 26701
pdf of Hawaii evacuation zones

Link
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Quoting Patrap:
Mayan calenders continue to sell briskly worldwide.
you keep saying that Pat, now I want one just in case....LOL
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.
Member Since: November 24, 2005 Posts: 635 Comments: 26701
Mayan calenders continue to sell briskly worldwide.
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CIVIL DEFENSE IN THE STATE OF HAWAII

TSUNAMI WARNING
TIME TILL IMPACT 76 MINUTES
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NEW Alarm just triggered

Station 46412 (LLNR 1) - 190 NM West-Southwest of San Diego, CA

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All of this unsettled, shifting of the earth is making me nervous - especially since I am going on a cruise to Central American next week..geez

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BULLETIN
TSUNAMI MESSAGE NUMBER 16
NWS PACIFIC TSUNAMI WARNING CENTER EWA BEACH HI
935 AM HST SAT FEB 27 2010

TO - CIVIL DEFENSE IN THE STATE OF HAWAII

SUBJECT - TSUNAMI WARNING SUPPLEMENT

A TSUNAMI WARNING CONTINUES IN EFFECT FOR THE STATE OF HAWAII.

AN EARTHQUAKE HAS OCCURRED WITH THESE PRELIMINARY PARAMETERS

ORIGIN TIME - 0834 PM HST 26 FEB 2010
COORDINATES - 36.1 SOUTH 72.6 WEST
LOCATION - NEAR COAST OF CENTRAL CHILE
MAGNITUDE - 8.8 MOMENT

MEASUREMENTS OR REPORTS OF TSUNAMI WAVE ACTIVITY

GAUGE LOCATION LAT LON TIME AMPL PER
------------------- ----- ------ ----- --------------- -----
CABO SAN LUCAS MX 22.9N 109.9W 1833Z 0.36M / 1.2FT 12MIN
DART TONGA 51426 23.0S 168.1W 1844Z 0.04M / 0.1FT 30MIN
HIVA OA MARQUESAS 9.8S 139.0W 1741Z 1.79M / 5.9FT 12MIN
PAPEETE TAHITI 17.5S 149.6W 1810Z 0.16M / 0.5FT 10MIN
NUKU HIVA MARQUESAS 8.9S 140.1W 1745Z 0.95M / 3.1FT 04MIN
MANZANILLO MX 19.1N 104.3W 1705Z 0.32M / 1.0FT 24MIN
DART MANZANILLO 434 16.0N 107.0W 1611Z 0.07M / 0.2FT 24MIN
ACAPULCO MX 16.8N 99.9W 1549Z 0.16M / 0.5FT 24MIN
RIKITEA PF 23.1S 134.9W 1559Z 0.15M / 0.5FT 22MIN
DART MARQUESAS 5140 8.5S 125.0W 1531Z 0.18M / 0.6FT 18MIN
BALTRA GALAPAGS EC 0.4S 90.3W 1452Z 0.35M / 1.2FT 14MIN
EASTER CL 27.2S 109.5W 1205Z 0.35M / 1.1FT 52MIN
ANCUD CL 41.9S 73.8W 0838Z 0.62M / 2.0FT 84MIN
CALLAO LA-PUNTA PE 12.1S 77.2W 1029Z 0.36M / 1.2FT 30MIN
ARICA CL 18.5S 70.3W 1008Z 0.94M / 3.1FT 42MIN
IQUIQUE CL 20.2S 70.1W 0907Z 0.28M / 0.9FT 68MIN
ANTOFAGASTA CL 23.2S 70.4W 0941Z 0.49M / 1.6FT 52MIN
DART LIMA 32412 18.0S 86.4W 0941Z 0.24M / 0.8FT 36MIN
CALDERA CL 27.1S 70.8W 0843Z 0.45M / 1.5FT 20MIN
TALCAHUANO CL 36.7S 73.4W 0653Z 2.34M / 7.7FT 88MIN
COQUIMBO CL 30.0S 71.3W 0852Z 1.32M / 4.3FT 30MIN
CORRAL CL 39.9S 73.4W 0739Z 0.90M / 2.9FT 16MIN
SAN FELIX CL 26.3S 80.1W 0815Z 0.53M / 1.7FT 08MIN
VALPARAISO CL 33.0S 71.6W 0708Z 1.29M / 4.2FT 20MIN

LAT - LATITUDE (N-NORTH, S-SOUTH)
LON - LONGITUDE (E-EAST, W-WEST)
TIME - TIME OF THE MEASUREMENT (Z IS UTC IS GREENWICH TIME)
AMPL - TSUNAMI AMPLITUDE MEASURED RELATIVE TO NORMAL SEA LEVEL.
IT IS ...NOT... CREST-TO-TROUGH WAVE HEIGHT.
VALUES ARE GIVEN IN BOTH METERS(M) AND FEET(FT).
PER - PERIOD OF TIME IN MINUTES(MIN) FROM ONE WAVE TO THE NEXT.

EVALUATION

A TSUNAMI HAS BEEN GENERATED THAT COULD CAUSE DAMAGE ALONG
COASTLINES OF ALL ISLANDS IN THE STATE OF HAWAII. URGENT ACTION
SHOULD BE TAKEN TO PROTECT LIVES AND PROPERTY.

A TSUNAMI IS A SERIES OF LONG OCEAN WAVES. EACH INDIVIDUAL WAVE
CREST CAN LAST 5 TO 15 MINUTES OR MORE AND EXTENSIVELY FLOOD
COASTAL AREAS. THE DANGER CAN CONTINUE FOR MANY HOURS AFTER THE
INITIAL WAVE AS SUBSEQUENT WAVES ARRIVE. TSUNAMI WAVE HEIGHTS
CANNOT BE PREDICTED AND THE FIRST WAVE MAY NOT BE THE LARGEST.
TSUNAMI WAVES EFFICIENTLY WRAP AROUND ISLANDS. ALL SHORES ARE AT
RISK NO MATTER WHICH DIRECTION THEY FACE. THE TROUGH OF A TSUNAMI
WAVE MAY TEMPORARILY EXPOSE THE SEAFLOOR BUT THE AREA WILL
QUICKLY FLOOD AGAIN. EXTREMELY STRONG AND UNUSUAL NEARSHORE
CURRENTS CAN ACCOMPANY A TSUNAMI. DEBRIS PICKED UP AND CARRIED
BY A TSUNAMI AMPLIFIES ITS DESTRUCTIVE POWER. SIMULTANEOUS HIGH
TIDES OR HIGH SURF CAN SIGNIFICANTLY INCREASE THE TSUNAMI HAZARD.

THE ESTIMATED ARRIVAL TIME IN HAWAII OF THE FIRST TSUNAMI WAVE IS

1105 AM HST SAT 27 FEB 2010

MESSAGES WILL BE ISSUED HOURLY OR SOONER AS CONDITIONS WARRANT.
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Was a real jostle looking at the Data Doc.

I bet some near shore noticed as well.
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Hiya Pat,

Hey, this being a Saturday, I imagine we'll get a few reports later from early morning fishermen who got a bit queasy being unexpectedly jostled about... ;)

Wish I had been near the waterbodies to see it!
(Please, don't anyone take that the wrong way, a seiche can indeed cause some damage... but I would not want be anywhere near the water as a tsunami approaches!)

(edit)
Hey Barefoot, yes I saw the effects of the '64 quake-induced seiche here... Good advice on moving the boats from docks / harbors, if threatened significantly...
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I seen on tv the wave may only be like one or two foot high.
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From ABC

As a precautionary measure, the U.S. Navy has ordered four ships to leave the port of Pearl Harbor and remain at sea, where they will escape the crush of incoming water that could thrust them against the shore.
Member Since: August 22, 2008 Posts: 12 Comments: 6010
Quoting SBKaren:
I'm watching the Hawaiian TV station live. They are concerned that some folks are saying that the extremely low tide (due to the upcoming full moon), is the ocean receding (pre-tsunami) - so ignore that if it comes up.


Future "Darwin Awards" nominees.

Some EM PIO's are prolly screaming at "third person invisible" and pulling their hair out.
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CIVIL DEFENSE IN THE STATE OF HAWAII

TSUNAMI WARNING
TIME TILL IMPACT 87 MINUTES
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ANOTHER BIG TREMOR LAST HOUR
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the strongest during the infamous March 27 1964 9.2 mag devastating monster caused all SE LA waterways, even small bayous to slosh, tossing aquatic vegetation up onto the banks where we played as kids... Was an odd sight... Thanks for clearing that up, DocNDswamp. Knew LA was affected but not how.

Retreat to higher ground, yep. Unless you have a boat to protect. Then head to sea.
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I'm watching the Hawaiian TV station live. They are concerned that some folks are saying that the extremely low tide (due to the upcoming full moon), is the ocean receding (pre-tsunami) - so ignore that if it comes up.
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Hiya Doc,good to see a Se. La. member chiming in with those factoids du jour.


Lake P did slosh round some as per the Buoys.
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Quoting AwakeInMaryland:

100

For today all is forgiven...'nuff said. :)

np awake.

From twitter.
"be carefulll searching for "Chile Earthquake" and related terms. Looks like the fake-antivirus criminals got it covered"


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Thanks for the update Dr Jeff,

This is at least the 3rd memorable seiche triggered I can remember affecting parts of S LA (and often S TX too) as it traveled along interconnecting fault lines... The previous notable two were of Alaskan origin, the strongest during the infamous March 27 1964 9.2 mag devastating monster caused all SE LA waterways, even small bayous to slosh, tossing aquatic vegetation up onto the banks where we played as kids... Was an odd sight...

The last Louisiana seiche occurred more recently from the 7.9 mag Nov 3 2002 quake along the Denali Fault, and was video documented showing lakes and especially swimming pools sloshing rather violently, and some minor damage was reported to moored boats thrashed about... I imagine somebody must have caught this similarly on a webcam, etc...

By all means, agree with others about inhabitants facing the tsunami - as unpredictably dangerous as situation is, a retreat to higher elevation would be a wise, life-saving decision...
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CIVIL DEFENSE IN THE STATE OF HAWAII

TSUNAMI WARNING
TIME TILL IMPACT 99 MINUTES
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Quoting drg0dOwnCountry:
HOW TO: Track Hawaii Tsunami Warnings Online

100

For today all is forgiven...'nuff said. :)
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CBS News Pentagon correspondent David Martin reports that the U.S. Navy has sent ships to evacuate four low-lying facilities - one of them a hospital - on the Hawaiian island of Oahu.
Member Since: August 22, 2008 Posts: 12 Comments: 6010

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Jeff co-founded the Weather Underground in 1995 while working on his Ph.D. He flew with the NOAA Hurricane Hunters from 1986-1990.

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