Pray For Japan: 8.9 Earthquake Hits Tokyo, Massive Tsunamis Slam Northeast Coast

Good God:

Japan was struck by a magnitude 8.9 earthquake off its northeastern coast Friday, unleashing a 13-foot tsunami that washed away cars and tore away buildings along the coast near the epicenter.

TV footage showed massive damage from the tsunami, with dozens of cars, boats and even buildings being carried along by the water. A large ship swept away by the tsunami rammed directly into a breakwater in Kesennuma city in Miyagi prefecture, according to footage on public broadcaster NHK.

A tsunami warning was also issued for Hawaii and the coasts of Oregon, California, Washington and parts of Alaska.

"A tsunami has been generated that could cause damage along the coastlines of all islands in the state of Hawaii," the Pacific Tsunami Warning Center's bulletin said. "Urgent action should be taken to protect lives and property."

The first tsunami wave was expected to hit Hawaii at 2:59 a.m. local time (7:59 a.m. ET), officials said.

Black smoke was also pouring out of an industrial area in Yokohama's Isogo area. TV footage showed boats, cars and trucks floating in water after a small tsunami hit the town of Kamaichi in northern Japan. An overpass appeared to have collapsed into the water.

The footage coming in of the tsunamis sweeping inland are frightening and disturbing -- though, judging from the lack of human activity, it appears their warning system may have worked well.

Likewise judging (guessing?) from reports from Tokyo, it appears their building safety standards made a big difference in minimizing casualties. We'll see if that remains the case as more details arrive.

More on the warnings for the USA's West Coast and Hawaii:

The warning was issued Thursday at 9:31 local time. Sirens were sounded about 30 minutes later in Honolulu alerting people in coastal areas to evacuate, and the first waves were expected to arrive at 2:55 a.m. local time (7:55 a.m. ET) Friday.

About 70 percent of Hawaii's population resides in Honolulu, and as many as 100,000 tourists are in the city on any given day.

"A tsunami has been generated that could cause damage along the coastlines of all islands in the state of Hawaii," the Pacific Tsunami Warning Center's bulletin said. "Urgent action should be taken to protect lives and property."

Victor Sardina, a geophysisist for the center, told the Honolulu Star-Adviser that 12- to 14-foot waves could hit the town of Hilo on the island of Hawaii and the town of Haleiwa on Oahu.

Residents in Oahu were lining up to get gas, the Star-Adviser reported.

A tsunami watch was issued for California, Oregon, Washington, British Columbia and Alaska from the California-Mexico border to Chignik Bay, Alaska.

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