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First round of small tsunami waves reach Hawaii

posted 11 Mar 2011, 07:36 by Sam Mbale   [ updated 11 Mar 2011, 07:38 ]

The first batch of small tsunami waves hit Hawaii as authorities order residents to evacuate coastal areas.

The first round of an expected series of tsunami waves reached Hawaii on Friday (March 11), triggered by an 8.9 magnitude earthquake in Japan.

Diamond Head beach in Oahu reported three-foot high waves with higher waves expected. Visitors to Waikiki beach have been told to move to higher floors in their hotels. The U.S. Pacific Tsunami Warning Center has extended a warning to include the whole of the Pacific basin, except mainland United States and Canada.

Hawaii is a popular destination for tourists and the boyhood home of U.S. President Barack Obama.

The quake off Japan's northeast coast was the biggest in 140 years and triggered tsunami waves of up to 10 meters (30 feet) that swept across farmland, sweeping away homes, crops, vehicles and triggering fires.