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Southern California beaches closed as waves expected from Japan earthquake [Updated]

March 11, 2011 |  6:00 am

http://wcatwc.arh.noaa.gov/2011/03/11/lhvpd9/energylhvpd9-05.jpg

Beaches in Southern California are being closed as officials expect small waves from the devastating 8.9 earthquake in Japan.

Officials said they are prohibiting fishing, surfing and boating until further notice because of the risk of a tsunami, which is expected to hit around 8 a.m.

Experts said they don't expect coastal flooding and are not calling for mandatory evaucations of homes. But officials said the energy from the massive quake could cause changes in the ocean currents.

The unusual change in currents could last for several hours. The waves are expected to be large in northern beach areas such as Ventura County compared to southern beaches in Orange County.

[Updated at 6:21 a.m.: Point Conception could see "tsumani inundation measuring between 3.5 to 7 feet, according to the latest report from the National Weather Service. Santa Barbara and Long Beach could see wave heights between 2 and 3 feet.]

Some lifeguards have moved equipment and vehicles to higher ground as a precaution.

In the San Francisco Bay Area, an emergency warning system announcement for a tsunami warning was braodcast just after 1 a.m. Waves could begin arriving in Crescent City, Calif., at 7:23 a.m. and the Bay Area shortly after 8 a.m.

A lower-level tsunami advisory was issued for the Southern California coast south of Point Concepcion, which includes southern San Luis Obispo County and the counties of Ventura, Los Angeles, Orange and San Diego.

According to the weather service, those living in tsunami warning areas near the beach or in low-lying regions “should move immediately inland to higher ground and away from all harbors and inlets, including those sheltered directly from the sea."

"Those feeling the earth shake, seeing unusual wave action, or the water level rising or receding may have only a few minutes before the tsunami arrival and should move immediately. Homes and small buildings are not designed to withstand tsunami impacts.”

Estimated arrival times:

PORT SAN LUIS HARBOR 8:09 a.m.

SANTA BARBARA HARBOR  8:17 a.m.

SANTA MONICA: 8:32 a.m.

SAN PEDRO 8:32 a.m.

NEWPORT BEACH 8:45 a.m.

LA JOLLA 8:48 a.m.

RELATED:

Photos: Scenes from the earthquake

Hawaiians brace for 6-foot tsunami waves

Massive tsunami threatens Pacific Rim after Japan's biggest quake in 140 years

-- Rong-Gong Lin II and Shelby Grad

Image: National Weather Service

 

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