LOS ANGELES (CBSLA.com) — A tsunami advisory has been issued for the coastal areas of California in the wake of Wednesday's powerful magnitude-8.3 earthquake in Chile.
The National Weather Service issued the advisory at 6:45 p.m. for coastal areas from San Onofre State Beach to San Luis Obispo County. A similar alert has been issued for Hawaii and was downgraded from a tsunami watch.
Officials said if a tsunami were to hit, it would do so early Thursday morning with estimated start times as early as 4:46 a.m. for Newport Beach; 4:47 a.m. for the L.A. Harbor; 5:06 a.m. for Santa Barbara, and 5:10 p.m. for Port San Luis.
A tsunami advisory means tsunami waves and currents are possible, said Rich Fields, a meteorologist with CBS Los Angeles, who added that the first waves may not be the largest.
Widespread flooding was not expected, according to the Orange County Emergency Operations Center, which recommended that residents stay off beaches and away from harbors as a precaution.
No land evacuations had been ordered, but beaches, harbors, and marinas are scheduled to close at 4 a.m. Thursday due to currents and tidal waves, the Orange County Sheriff's Department said, which had been flooded with phone calls from worried residents.
Following the issuance of the advisory, boat owners in Newport Beach began tying down vessels to docks to keep them from bumping into neighboring boats at the Village Cove Marina across from Balboa Island.
"I'm actually tying my boat down and my neighbors' boats. Hopefully they're not gonna get mad at me but I'm making sure everybody around me is secure so if we have some trouble, at least we're tied to the docks pretty well," Nicki Corona, a boat owner, said.
"This particular earthquake doesn't change the situation here in Southern California. There is always a chance of an earthquake in the next 10 minutes, the next day, the next decade and so the best thing we can do is to be prepared for it and act appropriately," Mark Simons, a geophysicist with the California Institute of Technology, said.
The powerful quake 144 miles northwest of Santiago, Chile's capital, struck just before 4 p.m. Pacific time, killing three people and spurring evacuation orders of an entire coastline due to a tsunami threat.
Scientists said the quake, which could be a foreshock, struck offshore and was deeper, which it why it had "less energy" as compared to shallower quakes experienced locally.
Chileans said the shaking lasted almost a minute and waves of up to 15-feet have been reported. There have been five aftershocks, all over a magnitude-6.0.
Meanwhile, officials with Caltech said they'll be working closely with the Pacific Tsunami Warning Center and the National Weather Service to monitor the seismic activity in Chile and the situation overnight.
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