Major Earthquake Hits Japan, Triggers Large Tsunami

March 11, 2011; 12:00 PM ET
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Play video Watch footage from Japan of the earthquake and tsunami in this video.

A major earthquake struck offshore of Japan Friday, killing hundreds and triggering a tsunami that reached Hawaii, Alaska and the U.S. West Coast.

The magnitude 8.9 earthquake hit just before 3 p.m. local time about 80 miles off the eastern coast of Japan, approximately 230 miles northeast of Tokyo. The quake immediately generated a tsunami.

Tsunami waves reached Hawaii, Alaska and the U.S. West Coast throughout Friday morning. AccuWeather.com Senior Meteorologist Kristina Pydynowski has details on tsunami wave heights that have been observed and the impacts they've had.

There have been reports that several people were swept out to sea in California and Oregon.

Tsunami warnings and advisories remain in effect for Hawaii, Alaska, California, Oregon and Washington. Please be sure to heed all advice from local emergency management officials!

NOAA also has a list of expected arrival times for tsunami waves.

A map showing the estimated time it will take for tsunami waves to travel across the Pacific Ocean. (International Tsunami Information Center)

Earlier Friday, a 23-foot tsunami washed ashore across northern Japan along the Miyagi prefecture, causing devastating damage and washing homes and vehicles well inland.

Farther inland, there are early reports of structural damage and fires, while buildings in Tokyo even swayed from the powerful tremors, sending people fleeing into the streets.

Earlier, Japan's meteorological agency issued tsunami warnings for the Miyagi prefecture, warning that a tsunami as high as 20 feet could strike.

Philippines Institute of Volcanology and Seismoloy Director Renato Solidum points to the map discussing the impact of a tsunami during a briefing Friday, March 11, 2011 in suburban Quezon City north of Manila, Philippines. (AP Photo/Pat Roque)

Tsunami warnings are also in effect for many areas across the Pacific rim.

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