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An 8.9 magnitude earthquake struck the Eastern coast of Japan at 2:46 PM Friday afternoon Tokyo time (9:46 PM PT Thursday night), reportedly “shaking buildings in Tokyo for several minutes and sending people out into the streets.” The quake was followed by “a 10 meter tsunami that swept away boats, homes and cars along the coastline,” and a tsunami warning has been issued for many areas, including San Francisco.

We recommend keeping your eye on Google news and, of course, Twitter, for reports from the area.

For us here, the main thing to know is that a tsunami warning has been declared for the entire California coast, from Point Concepcion in California to the border of Oregon and Washington. The advisory, initially a tsunami watch, was issued shortly after midnight. It was upgraded to a warning at around 12:45 a.m. PT.

High waves are anticipated for, at publication time, 8:08 AM PT Friday morning. According to National Weather Service forecaster Will Pi, low lying coastal areas should expect to see tidal inundations. Sea levels are expected to rise by about a half-meter to a meter by 7:30 a.m., Pi said.

The warning is in effect through the morning, National Weather Service forecaster Steve Anderson said.

Following earthquakes of 7.5-magnitude or higher, warnings are issued for areas within three hour tsunami-travel time.

A tsunami warning indicates that a tsunami is imminent and those areas should be prepared for flooding, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

You can see a map of the anticipated travel times of the wave here. And, from 2009, here’s San Francisco’s Tsunami Inundation Map. Compiled by the California Emergency Management Agency and the California Geological Survey, it predicts “the maximum considered tsunami runup from a number of extreme, yet realistic, tsunami sources.”

As the invaluable Emergency in SF twitter feed reminds us “don’t approach coast & listen to your local emergency officials for instructions.”

According to Lt. Franey, via AlertSF, San Francisco’s Department of Emergency Management (DEM) “is aware of the situation and has assembled an Incident Management Team. DEM has contacted the States Coastal Region who will provide an update to the local level around 0200 hrs.”

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the author

Eve Batey is the editor and publisher of the San Francisco Appeal. She used to be the San Francisco Chronicle's Deputy Managing Editor for Online, and started at the Chronicle as their blogging and interactive editor. Before that, she was a co-founding writer and the lead editor of SFist. She's been in the city since 1997, presently living in the Outer Sunset with her husband, cat, and dog. You can reach Eve at

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