Japan Tsunami Alert

A smartphone alert in the middle of the night woke both Keiko and myself. It was a tsunami warning message from the Japan Meteorological Agency issued after an underwater volcano in the South Pacific exploded in a violent eruption. Although government officials had initially ruled out a damaging tsunami, the agency said that some waves had already hit some areas along Japan’s Pacific coast and more were expected.

As morning dawned we learned that waves of 1+ meter had been observed along the Pacific coast. The Meteorological Agency noted that higher waves may arrive after the initial ones, and expressed concern that waves of 3 meters could hit Iwate prefecture located in the northern most region of Honshu, Japan’s main island. A 1.1-meter wave was recorded at 2:26 a.m. on Sunday in Iwate Prefecture’s Kuji Port sinking a number of fishing boats.

According to the agency, the tsunami waves may have been magnified due to changes in atmospheric pressure caused by the eruption.

The Fire and Disaster Management Agency said at least 210,000 people in seven prefectures were asked to flee from the seaside. Fortunately, there was no observable impact in the Tokyo area.

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