The 8.9 magnitude earthquake that struck off the northeast coast of Japan on Friday is among the top 10 ever recorded, seismologists say. Up to 300 bodies have been found in the city of Sendai in northeastern Japan, which the LA Times reports is an area believed to have been hit hardest by a massive Tsunami that swept across the Pacific at 500 mph. A wave over 33 feet high hit the city of 1 million, which is without power. 1,100 people are estimated to be stranded at the airport. Below, via Media Memo, first-hand video of the earthquake rattling Tokyo, and aerial video of the tsunami sweeping up everything in its path:
Tsunami waves have just reached Hawaii, where waves about 3 feet high were recorded on Oahu and Kauai. The first waves hitting the state are only about a foot higher than usual, according to local news reports and the LA Times. Officials have warned that the waves would continue and could become larger, but fortunately the islands had time to prepare, and residents of coastal areas were evacuated inland. The AP reports that roadways and beaches were empty as the tsunami struck the state, and residents waited in long lines stocking up on gas, bottled water, canned food and generators.
Waves are expected to reach California at 11:30 a.m. EST. Beaches have been closed throughout southern California, and the National Weather service now estimates that Point Conception in Santa Barbara could see tsumani inundation measuring between 3.5 to 7 feet. President Obama sent his condolences to the people of Japan, and "instructed FEMA to be ready to assist Hawaii and the rest of the US states and territories that could be affected."
This morning, Mayor Bloomberg said NYC will help direct local donations to the victims of Japan's earthquake and tsunami. In his weekly radio appearance, the Mayor urged people who want to donate to call 311 or go to the 311 website.