From the ABC 7 Weather team

Japan earthquake: Will the tsunami affect the U.S.? (Photo)

March 11, 2011 - 02:35 PM
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This world map from NOAA shows where the tsunamis are headed. There are already reports of damage in California.


2nd UPDATE 4:45: Watch this mesmerizing NOAA animation of how the tsunami is fanning out from Honshu to cover the globe:

UPDATE 3:30: The tsunami has swept one person out to sea in Northern California as he was taking pictures of giant waves with a group of friends, the Seattle Times reports. The Coast Guard is looking for him now.

Original: Tsunamis traveling across the Pacific as fast as 500 m.p.h. shot past Hawaii with relatively little damage, although they left a weird scene of puffer fish flopping around on streets and in parking lots. The above map from NOAA (here's another in 3D) shows expected wave heights throughout the world.

In Guam, two attack subs came unmoored and had to be guided back to the pier by tug boats. A wave about 7 feet tall near Crescent City in California is the largest measured so far in states. The dock and 35 boats in the harbor there were majorly damaged. A tidal surge of 3 feet in Santa Cruz caused about $2 million in damage to several boats. Needless to say, beaches are closed and some residents evacuated all along the Pacific coast as abnormally strong waves continue to pour in, now washing up in Washington State.

One scientist from the U.S. Geological Survey said that the quake was 30 times as strong as the 1906 temblor in San Francisco. Japan is struggling to cope with a zoo of disasters: a missing passenger train near the coast, a ship with 100 people aboard that has vanished at sea, raging gas and petrochemical fires, a burst dam in Fukushima prefecture that washed away homes, and three more quakes in the last hour that measure between 5 and a little more than 6 in magnitude. The U.S. Air Force is flying nuclear coolant to Japan right now due to a shut-down power plant that won’t cool off. Officials at the Tokyo Electric Power Company's Fukushima-Daiichi power plant have said they plan to vent radioactive gas to try to release some of the pressure that is building up.

And the humanitarian efforts are underway. The Red Cross is accepting donations here, while Google has released a person-finder app for anybody you know who might be missing in Japan.

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