[Update April 1 9:45 EDT]: A tsunami watch has been extended to the following countries: Costa Rica, Nicaragua, El Salvador, Guatemala, Mexico, Honduras
A massive earthquake has hit off the coast of Chile. According to the United States Geological Survey (USGS), the quake hit today (April 1) around 7:46 PM EDT or around 23:46:45 UTC. The quake registered as a preliminary 8.0, but was upgraded to a 8.2. What does a 8.0 earthquake mean? It means it has so much energy that it is roughly equivalent of releasing over 6 million tons of TNT. Quakes with intensity higher than 8.0 are extremely rare, and usually occurs once a year on average.
Here’s more information regarding the quake via the USGS:
Nearby cities of the quake:
99km (62mi) NW of Iquique, Chile
140km (87mi) SSW of Arica, Chile
191km (119mi) SSW of Tacna, Peru
225km (140mi) SSE of Ilo, Peru
449km (279mi) SW of La Paz, Bolivia
Location: 19.642°S 70.817°W
Depth of the quake= 20.1 kilometers or 12.5 miles
A tsunami warning has been issued for Chile, Ecuador, and Peru. A Tsunami Watch is in effect for Colombia, Panama, Costa Rica, and Nicaragua. The Pacific Tsunami Center is further analyzing whether a tsunami could impact Hawaii. If they believe it could, then a watch or warning could be activated. The estimated time of a tsunami to hit Hawaii, should it occur, would be around 3:24 AM HST on Wednesday, April 2, 2014.
Here’s an image from the National Tsunami Warning Center showing the estimated times of the possible tsunami in the Pacific Ocean:
As of now, a 6-foot tsunami hit Pisagua, Chile, at 8:04 PM EDT. Iquique, Chile recorded a 7-foot wave.
Here’s initial video of the sirens sounding in parts of Chile:
We will keep you updated as we get more information.
Matt Daniel is Meteorologist for WBRC in Birmingham, Alabama. A self-described "big weather and music geek," Matt has a passion for helping to keep people safe when severe weather strikes and says if you don't have a NOAA Weather Radio ... you should get one.