A tsunami advisory is currently in effect for the coastal areas Southern California. The Nation Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration is careful to clarify that this is not a tsunami warning, nor is it a tsunami watch. From NOAA's website:
A minor tsunami may be recorded in some areas of the coast
which could produce dangerous currents and surges in harbors and bays. People are advised to stay away from the beaches and marinas. Wave heights and currents are amplified by irregular shorelines and are difficult to predict. Wave fluctuations are expected to begin within 30 minutes of the estimated arrival times listed below:
Port San Luis Harbor... At 1235 PM PST.
Santa Barbara Harbor... At 1231 PM PST.
Santa Monica Harbor....At 1225 PM PST.
San Pedro Harbor.......At 1215 PM PST.
NOAA also indicates that waves should reach their peak size about two hours after the series of waves begins.
The tsunami was triggered by an 8.8 magnitude earthquake that hit Chile at 10:34 PST last night. In the earthquake's aftermath, a tsunami warning has been issued in Hawaii, CNN reports, where coastal residents were told to evacuate. NOAA has issued advisories across the United State's Pacific coastal areas.
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Updated: NOAA has released more information about the tsunami advisory. Waves should vary from two to just over three feet in height in various areas, though they may reach over four feet along the San Luis Obispo coastline.