People in Hawaii can now breathe easier: the National Weather Service’s Pacific Tsunami Warning Center (PTWC) have now officially dismissed the threat of tsunami from a major earthquake that struck the Mexican coast earlier today. While they said there could have been a possible tsunami threat for Hawaii when the quake first struck , the PTWC says there is now no longer threat of any Pacific-wide tsunami at this time.
At 8:05 am Hawaii local time or 4:05 pm ET, a powerful 7.6 earthquake struck 23 miles southeast of Aquila, Mexico near the Colima-Michoacan border region. According to USGS, the earthquake struck at a depth of 15.1 km; the USGS believes earthquakes of this magnitude could lead to loss of life and significant economic losses. According to USGS models that have yet to be reviewed by scientists or emergency officials in Mexico, it is lost likely that there have been 10-100 fatalities and $10-100 million in damages from the earthquake. USGS also says strong aftershocks are possible here near today’s earthquake’s epicenter.
Shortly after the quake, the National Weather Service Pacific Tsunami Warning Center issued a Tsunami Information Statement to Emergency Management throughout Hawaii. “This statement is for information only. No action is required at this time,” the statement begins with. They add, “A tsunami threat exists for parts of the Pacific located closer to the earthquake but it is still too early to determine whether there is a possible tsunami threat to Hawaii.”
“If there is a tsunami threat to Hawaii, the earliest estimated time the hazard might begin is 3:19 pm”, the statement adds. “Further statements will be issued hourly or sooner as the situation develops.”
While a threat to Hawaii was possible early-on in this seismic event, the National Weather Service’s Tsunami Warning Center in Palmer, Alaska said they did not believe there was a threat to the U.S. West Coast, British Columbia, or Alaska. In an update they released after the initial quake, experts there said, ” There is no tsunami danger for the U.S. West Coast, British Columbia, or Alaska. Based on earthquake information and historic tsunami records, the earthquake is not expected to generate a tsunami.”
Now, the PTWC joins in that assessment for Hawaii and other interests across the Pacific. In an update delivered well within their initial hour of promised updates, the PTWC said, “Based on all available data, a destructive Pacific-wide tsunami is not expected and there is no tsunami threat to Hawaii.”