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Following an 8.9 magnitude earthquake that struck Japan Friday, tsunami warnings went up for the West Coast.  A possible tsunami wave was forecast to hit the Hawaiian Islands by 2:30 a.m. Friday morning, Pacific Time.  It was also forecast to reach the Oregon Coast by 7 a.m.  A wave of 23-feet reportedly struck Japan’s low laying areas.  Hawaii reported a three-foot high wave.  Oregon Department of Transportation officials reported Hwy. 101 in the Florence area was packed and was asking valley residents to not come to the coast to observe the tsunami wave as that would add to the congestion.  The water level at Port Orford was forecast to rise to 6.5-feet, the largest waves were predicted for Crescent City, CA at 7.9-feet.  The City of North Bend issued a news release stating “Emergency Officials strongly recommended that all individuals in the low areas of North Bend to move to higher ground; this is in reference to the possibility of an tsunami hitting our coast at approximately 0700 hours.  North Bend Emergency Personnel have been contacting residents and businesses in the low lying areas of the city and recommending that they move to higher ground.  There are two locations in the City of North Bend where citizens can go if they need to temporary relocate.  These areas are:  Hillcrest Elementary School (1100 Maine, North Bend); North Bend Community Center (2222 Broadway, North Bend); Please do not go into a low lying area until an all clear has been issued.”  The Lincoln Co. School District on the Central Oregon Coast closed Friday because of the threat.  The Coos Co. Sheriff’s Office also issued a warning, “On 03-10-2011 at about 11:40 pm the Coos County 911/PSAP/Dispatch Center received a Tsunami warning for the Oregon Coast due to the large earthquake that struck Japan.  The Tsunami is expected to strike the Oregon Coast at 7:15 this morning.  The Bandon and Charleston areas of Coos County and all low lying coastal areas in the county are expected to receive a Tsunami wave that could be as high as 6 feet.  The Sheriff’s Office has called in most of their criminal staff to assist in notifying citizens in the low lying coastal areas and low lying river drainage areas in Coos County.  The Sheriff’s Office is asking citizens to assist by not coming out to these areas to try to look at the Tsunami and please do not call 911 unless it is an emergency.  The Sheriff’s Office and the Coos County Emergency Operation Center is asking all people who are in Tsunami affected areas to move to higher ground until after the warning has ceased.  Updates will be sent out as more information comes in.”  Douglas Co. also issued a news release, “A Tsunami warning has been issued for the west coast including coastal areas of Douglas County. The Tsunami is expected to hit the coast between 7:00 a.m. and 7:20 a.m. local time.  Douglas County Emergency Management has utilized the Douglas County Citizen Alert System (DCENS) to notify coastal residents of the Tsunami and advise residents who are in the Salmon Harbor inundation area to evacuate. The Tsunami warning sirens have also been activated.  People in the Salmon Harbor inundation area should evacuate and head for high ground. The two staging areas for the Salmon Harbor area are Light House State Park and Highland School.”

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