Evacuations from coastal areas ordered in Hawaii, Guam


HONOLULU, Hawaii- Due to the threat of a tidal wave set off by Friday’s earthquake in Japan, Hawaii ordered evacuations from coastal areas as a tsunami warning was extended to the whole of the Pacific basin, except continental United States and Canada.

Evacuation from low-lying areas was also ordered on the U.S. island territory of Guam in the western Pacific, where residents there were urged to move at least 50 feet (15 meters) above sea level and 100 feet (30 meters) inland.

The U.S. Pacific Tsunami Warning Center said the warning extended from Mexico down the Pacific coast of South America.

The International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies warned that the tsunami is currently higher than some Pacific islands which it could wash over.

Ocean waves up to 6 feet (2 meters) above normal sea level were detected by deep-ocean gauges near Wake island, Midway and Guam in the North Pacific, said Chip McCreary, a spokesman for the Pacific Tsunami Warning Center.

The island of Kauai is expected to be first hit because the tsunami was advancing from the west and would likely take 20 to 30 minutes to cross the entire state, McCreary said.