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Hawaii tsunami warning downgraded to advisory after powerful Canada quake

October 28, 2012 12:00:00 AM PDT
A tsunami warning in Hawaii that spurred coastal evacuations was downgraded to a tsunami advisory on Sunday.

Hawaii Gov. Neil Abercrombie said the Aloha State was lucky to avoid more severe surges after a powerful 7.7-magnitude earthquake struck off the coast of Canada. Abercrombie said beaches and harbors are still closed statewide.

The U.S. Geological Survey said the powerful temblor hit the Queen Charlotte Islands just after 8 p.m. local time Saturday at a depth of about 3 miles and was centered 96 miles south of Masset, British Columbia. It was felt across a wide area in British Columbia, both on its Pacific islands and on the mainland.

In addition to Hawaii, the National Weather Service issued a tsunami warning for coastal areas of British Columbia and southern Alaska, but later canceled it for the first two and downgraded it to an advisory for Hawaii.

The weather service also canceled a tsunami advisory for Oregon, leaving northern California as the only spot in North America still under a tsunami advisory.

The largest wave in the first 45 minutes of the tsunami was measured in Maui at more than 5 feet. That's about 2 feet higher than normal sea levels. No major damage was reported.

A small tsunami created by the quake was barely noticeable in Craig, Alaska, where the first wave or surge was recorded Saturday night.

Canada's largest earthquake since 1700 was an 8.1 magnitude quake on Aug. 22, 1949 off the coast of British Columbia, according to the Canadian government's Natural Resources website.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.


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