Tsunami hits the West Coast

Kyle Potter

The tsunami that struck Japan’s northern coast early this morning and left hundreds dead and missing has struck California.

Santa Cruz and Crescent City, two cities in northern California, were hit hard this afternoon, according the Los Angeles Times.

Waves as high as 6 1/2 feet crushed more than 30 boats in the Crescent City harbor and destroyed several docks, causing at least $2 million in damages, according to an early estimate from National Public Radio’s broadcast of the events.

Thousands of residents along California’s cost were evacuated in preparation for the tsunami, including more than 6,000 in Santa Cruz, according to Reuters.

Tsunami Warnings on the West Coast

Tsunami warning levels on the West Coast. Photo courtesy of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

The people of Hawaii were prepared for a surge of waves, but the Pacific Ocean islands appear to have escaped major damage. The tsunami warning in Hawaii was recently downgraded from an alert to an advisory.

The tsunami was triggered by an enormous 8.9 magnitude earthquake – the largest in Japan’s history. The most recent estimate from Reuters pins the death toll in Japan above 1,000.