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Cat Herder 06:01 AM 03-11-2011
Key details:

Police say 200 to 300 bodies found in northeastern coastal area'Nuclear emergency' declared after problems at Japanese plant
Evacuation order issued to thousands near different nuclear plant Japanese PM cites 'major damage'; calls for 'spirit of fraternity'
First tsunami waves hit Hawaii, sweep though islands
California emergency agency spokesman says evacuations 'very possible'
TOKYO A magnitude 8.9 earthquake the biggest in modern Japanese history slammed the island nation's eastern coast Friday, unleashing a 23-foot tsunami that swept boats, cars, buildings and tons of debris miles inland and prompting a "nuclear emergency."

According to police, 200 to 300 bodies were found in the northeastern coastal city of Sendai. The death toll was likely to continue climbing given the scale of Friday's disaster.

The government ordered thousands of residents near a nuclear power plant in Onahama city to evacuate because the plant's system was unable to cool the reactor. The reactor was not leaking radiation but its core remained hot even after a shutdown. The plant is 170 miles northeast of Tokyo.

Dozens of cities and villages along a 1,300-mile stretch of coastline were shaken by violent tremors that reached as far away as Tokyo, hundreds of miles from the epicenter.

"The earthquake has caused major damage in broad areas in northern Japan," Prime Minister Naoto Kan said at a news conference.

According to the Pacific Tsunami Warning Center, Kauai was the first island hit early Friday by the tsunami, which was quickly sweeping through the Hawaiian Island chain. Officials predicted Hawaii would experience waves up to 6 feet.

Video: Live coverage of quake's aftermath (on this page)
A ship carrying 100 people was swept away by the tsunami, Kyodo news agency reported.

Video: Japan declares 'nuclear emergency' at plant (on this page)
Fires triggered by the quake burned out of control up and down the coast.

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Advertise | AdChoicesOfficials were still trying to assess the extent of destruction. The government's top spokesman, Yukio Edano, said that the country was sending troops to the quake-hit area to join relief efforts.

A tsunami warning was also issued for Hawaii and the coasts of Oregon and northern and central California and parts of Alaska. A tsunami advisory was in effect for southern California.

Japan earthquake Live Blog: Latest updates on aftermath of Japan quake
Updated 56 minutes ago 3/11/2011 1:52:27 PM +00:00 Evacuation ordered after Japan nuke plant rocked
Updated 54 minutes ago 3/11/2011 1:55:07 PM +00:00 Tsunami hits Hawaii, barrels to US West Coast
Massive earthquake hits Japan
"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."

Among the other countries for which a tsunami warning was in effect are: Russia, Taiwan, the Philippines, Indonesia, Papua New Guinea, Fiji, Mexico, Guatemala, El Salvador, Costa Rica, Nicaragua, Panama, Honduras, Chile, Ecuador, Colombia and Peru.

The tsunami is higher than some of the Pacific islands it could wash over, the Red Cross in Geneva said, warning that developing countries in the Asia Pacific region were particularly vulnerable to tsunami damage.


Horror in Japan
Even for a country used to earthquakes, this one was of horrific proportions.

Live Blog: Latest updates on aftermath of Japan quake
Large fishing boats and other sea vessels rode high waves into the cities, slamming against overpasses. Upturned and partially submerged vehicles were seen bobbing in the water.

Waves of muddy waters swept over farmland near the city of Sendai, carrying buildings, some on fire, inland as cars attempted to drive away. Sendai airport, north of Tokyo, was inundated with cars, trucks, buses and thick mud deposited over its runways. Fires spread through a section of the city, public broadcaster NHK reported.

A large fire erupted at the Cosmo oil refinery in Ichihara city in Chiba prefecture near Tokyo and was burning out of control.

The tsunami roared over embankments, washing cars, houses and farm equipment inland before reversing directions and carrying them out to sea. Flames shot from some of the houses, probably because of burst gas pipes.

Advertise | AdChoices"Our initial assessment indicate that there has already been enormous damage," Edano added. "We will make maximum relief effort based on that assessment."

Slideshow: Massive earthquake hits Japan (on this page)
Tremors were felt as far away as Beijing, China, about 1,300 miles west of Tokyo.

The quake struck at 2:46 p.m. local time (12:46 a.m. ET) and was followed by five powerful aftershocks within about an hour, the strongest measuring 7.1. The U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) upgraded the strength of the first quake to a magnitude 8.9, while Japan's meteorological agency measured it at 8.4.

Citing USGS data, NBC News reported that if the 8.9 reading is verified, it would be the fifth-strongest earthquake since 1900.

The quake struck at a depth of six miles, about 80 miles off the eastern coast. The area is 240 miles northeast of Tokyo.

Get updates on Japan quake at breakingnews.com
In downtown Tokyo, large buildings shook violently and workers poured into the streets for safety. TV footage showed a large building on fire and bellowing smoke in the Odaiba district of Tokyo.

Trains were stopped and passengers walked along the tracks to platforms. NHK said more than 4 million buildings without power in Tokyo and its suburbs.

The temblor brought the capital's train system to a halt, paralyzing the daily commuter flow of more than 10 million people.

Akira Tanaka, 54, a restaurant worker, was among those who just gave up and decided to walk home to suburban Saitama, 12 miles north of Tokyo, an endeavor he has never tackled before.

"I've been walking an hour and 10 minutes, still have about three hours to go," he said. "This is the kind of earthquake that hits once every 100 years."

The ceiling of Kudan Kaikan, a large hall in Tokyo, collapsed, injuring an unknown number of people, NHK said.

Advertise | AdChoicesOsamu Akiya, 46, was working in Tokyo at his office in a trading company when the quake hit.

It sent bookshelves and computers crashing to the floor, and cracks appeared in the walls.

"I've been through many earthquakes, but I've never felt anything like this," he said.

Video: 'Tsunami waves travel as fast as a jet engine' (on this page)
Footage on NHK from their Sendai office showed employees stumbling around and books and papers crashing from desks.

Several quakes had hit the same region in recent days, including a 7.3 magnitude one on Wednesday.

Thirty minutes after the quake, tall buildings were still swaying in Tokyo and mobile phone networks were not working.

Video: Officials trying to assess damage (on this page)
Tokyo's main airport was closed. A large section of the ceiling at the 1-year-old airport at Ibaraki, about 50 miles northeast of Tokyo, fell to the floor with a powerful crash.

Japan's northeast Pacific coast, called Sanriku, has suffered from quakes and tsunamis in the past. In 1933, a magnitude 8.1 quake in the area killed more than 3,000 people. Last year fishing facilities were damaged after by a tsunami caused by a strong tremor in Chile.

Earthquakes are common in Japan, one of the world's most seismically active areas. The country accounts for about 20 percent of the world's earthquakes of magnitude 6 or greater.

NBC News, msnbc.com staff, Reuters and The Associated Press contributed to this repo
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Blackcat31 06:04 AM 03-11-2011
Wow! Isn't that crazy!! I can't believe the destruction! The live news feeds are horrible! Looks like scenes from a movie!

I hope no one on the west coast is terribly affected! Stay safe everyone who may be in the path of harm.
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Crystal 06:08 AM 03-11-2011
I just read that....scary!!!!
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Michelle 06:21 AM 03-11-2011
wow, thank you! I live on the coast...Long Beach Calif. and I had no idea we are having a tsunami warning I never watch the news in the morning because it's not good for the kids. It's kinda funny I had to learn about this from someone living on the east coast!!!

How devastating for Japan!!! omg!
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Blackcat31 06:35 AM 03-11-2011
Originally Posted by Michelle:
wow, thank you! I live on the coast...Long Beach Calif. and I had no idea we are having a tsunami warning I never watch the news in the morning because it's not good for the kids. It's kinda funny I had to learn about this from someone living on the east coast!!!

How devastating for Japan!!! omg!
I am not all that familiar with the layout of the land where you are all at but some news reports are recommending certain areas of the West coast to evacuate.....

http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/42024659...fic/?GT1=43001

Hope you are no where near any of the dangerous areas.....
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Cat Herder 06:36 AM 03-11-2011
Originally Posted by Michelle:
wow, thank you! I live on the coast...Long Beach Calif. and I had no idea we are having a tsunami warning I never watch the news in the morning because it's not good for the kids. It's kinda funny I had to learn about this from someone living on the east coast!!!

How devastating for Japan!!! omg!
I have many childhood friends living there....

I just can't imagine... I grew up with hurricanes and tornados, but this.......
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Michelle 06:50 AM 03-11-2011
We will be fine, we live far enough inland,we are about 3 feet above sea level so we will keep an eye on it.
There are people here that are standing on the beach to watch and surfers with their boards eagerly waiting for it too!! I guess we have all kinds of stupid people here!
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MyAngels 07:16 AM 03-11-2011
Originally Posted by Michelle:
We will be fine, we live far enough inland,we are about 3 feet above sea level so we will keep an eye on it.
There are people here that are standing on the beach to watch and surfers with their boards eagerly waiting for it too!! I guess we have all kinds of stupid people here!
It's amazing what some will do. DH and I lived in Japan when we were first married, and during the worst Typhoon to hit the area in 25 years other Americans in our building were heading to the sea wall to see what all the fuss was about. We took our cue from the local residents and stayed inside.

Glad you are where you'll be safe!
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Live and Learn 07:19 AM 03-11-2011
I am inland a little bit....plenty safe from a tsunami....local news is reporting that a small wave hit Port Orford, Oregon.....right now the government is issuing voluntary evacuations on the Oregon coast. On the tv it shows people still walking on the beach!!!! ......survival of the fittest?......honestly who are these idiots? Didn't they see the photos a few years back of the tsunamis from Indonesia?
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Michelle 09:30 AM 03-11-2011
Yea and my 22 year old son is one of them!!!
He just called me and asked me if I was watching the fox 11 news and I said "yea" and he said "look for someone in a blue shirt" and there he was sitting there waiting like all the other idiots
He is too big for a spanking unfortunately
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