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Threat from tsunami waves lessens; people asked to stay off coast beaches

Ted S. Warren
Waves common for a stormy springtime day crash into the beach Friday, March 11, 2011 in Moclips, Wash. A Tsunami caused by the Thursday earthquake in Japan reached the west coast of the United States early Friday, though its impact was minimal.

Updated at 10:32 a.m.

The first wave of the tsunami to hit the Washington Coast measured 1.6 feet at La Push and about half a foot at Neah Bay and Port Angeles, according to the National Weather Service.

Tsunami Adisory Remains in Effect

Science and Operations officer Kirby Cook says the tsunami advisory is still in effect for the Washington Coast and more waves could be on the way. Cook says more waves are landing in California and that means Washington and Oregon can expect more as well.

The waves were triggered by an 8.9-magnitude earthquake in Japan.

Cook says the advisory will remain in effect until the tsunami center in Alaska calls it off. Waves on the Washington Coast were not significantly different from usual on Friday morning after a massive earthquake in Japan.

The Washington Coast was under a tsunami advisory and residents had been urged to evacuate.

First Waves Reported on Southern Oregon Coast

The first tsunami waves created by the earthquake reached the U.S. mainland along the Oregon coast Friday morning.

Geophysicist Gerard Fryer at the Pacific Tsunami Warning Center in Honolulu says high water reached Port Orford, Ore., about 7:30 a.m.

Officials along the coast activated warning sirens hours earlier to alert people to leave low-lying areas.

The National Weather Service says some of the biggest waves of between 6 and 7 feet were expected to hit near Crescent City, Calif.

People in coastal of Oregon, California and Washington evacuated ahead of the waves Friday.

In Alaska, the tsunami caused a wave just over 5 feet at Shemya in the Aleutian Islands 1,200 miles southwest of Anchorage.

Evacuations in Parts of Pacific, Grays Harbor Counties

During the advisory, residents around Moclips, Pacific Beach, Iron Springs and Taholah who live close to the ocean were asked to move to higher ground, the Grays Harbor Emergency Management agency said.

In Pacific County, people in Long Beach, Ocean Park and Ilwaco were also advised to evacuate to higher ground. The county used its reverse 911 system as part of the evacuation warning process.

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