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Saturday, February 27, 2010

Tsunami Alert (UPDATED: 28 February)

I was monitoring the developments in the intensity 8.8 earthquake in Chile when I got the news.  The Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (PHIVOLCS) issued a tsunami alert level 1 and warned that it could arrive in the eastern part of the country by 2:30 in the afternoon tomorrow, Sunday.

The earthquake in Chile happened earlier today and caused damages in life and property.  CNN reports that more than 100 people were dead due to the temblor.  Power and communications line in the capital city of Santiago are already out.

Tsunami Alert Level 1 does not necessarily mean that people should evacuate, the PHIVOLCS head explained in a newscast. It only cautions people to monitor their coasts for signs of unusual waves.  The agency also advises people in affected area to stay away from the shoreline.

The warning was made based on a past experience where tsunami reached the country 24 hours after a strong earthquake hit Chile in 1960.  Eyewitness account in the provinces of Samar and Surigao claimed that a wall of water as high as six meters hit their provinces.

Similar warnings were issued in other countries in the Pacific Rim.   The U.S. Pacific Tsunami Warning Center has issued alerts  for parts of Hawaii, Guam, American Samoa and other Pacific islands.  Australia and Japan alerted their people for tsunami waves that could hit their respective countries by early tomorrow morning.

UPDATE (28 February)
At 3:15 PM today 28 February, PHIVOLCS cancelled the Tsunami Alert since it has not received any reports of unusual significant sea level changes within the projected arrival period of the tsunami waves.  It advised local government officials that if no other observations are made by 4:30 this afternoon, they can assume that the threat has passed.

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