A massive tsunami slammed the Japanese coast overnight in the wake of an offshore 8.9 magnitude earthquake. The most powerful earthquake in Japan's history triggered death, destruction and widespread power blackouts in Japan. Countries across the Pacific Rim, from Russia to South America and including Hawaii and the West Coast of the United States, are bracing for possible tsunami waves.
"The death toll [is] expected to rise as communications were cut off to some of the worst-hit areas in the north and helicopter footage showed tsunami waters racing across rice fields, dragging houses and vehicles in their wake. ...
Television pictures showed coastal regions of northern Japan disappearing under a sea of debris as the tsunami waters advanced inland. Numerous fires have been reported, including at the Onagawa nuclear plant in northeastern Japan near the epicenter and an oil refinery in Chiba prefecture, next to metropolitan Tokyo.
Two nuclear plants on the Pacific coast in Fukushima were automatically shut down. Tohoku Electric Power Co. said water was leaking at the Onagawa plant in Miyagi while Tokyo Electric Power Co. said it was looking into a problem at its Fukushima Daiichi Station. The government declared an atomic power emergency, but Edana said there was not currently any risk of radiation leaks from the nuclear plants.
The largest reported tsunami was a 10-meter one observed at Sendai port in northeastern Japan, reports Nikkei. The devastation from Sendai is seen in the image at top.
Authorities in Hawaii ordered evacuations of coastal areas due to the threat of a tidal wave set off.
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