Hawaii tsunami watch lifted after 7.5-magnitude earthquake hits northern Pacific

A short tsunami watch for Hawaii has been lifted after a 7.5 magnitude earthquake struck in the northern Pacific on Wednesday.

Forecasters feared the quake, which struck 219 kilometres (136 miles) from Russia’s Kuril Islands, would trigger tsunami waves for nearby shores.

The Pacific Tsunami Warning Centre initially issued a warning for hazardous waves in parts of the Kuril Islands, but after further analysis said waves of less than 30 centimetres above tide level were possible in the northern Pacific.

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A tsunami watch was issued for Hawaii, warning that a tsunami could be “destructive on coastal areas even far from the epicentre” but was cancelled less than an hour later.

The centre later said: “Sea level readings from the nearest two deep-ocean dart gauges now confirm there is no tsunami threat to Hawaii although some small sea level changes may occur.

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Hawaii is located about 3,500 miles southeast of the Kuril Islands.

The Japan Meteorological Association also said there might be slight tidal changes but said no warnings or watch advisories had been issued.

However, Russia’s emergency services warned residents in the northern part of the Kurils remain under threat of tsunami.

It said: “A tsunami wave arrived in Severo-Kurilsk at 1515 Sakhalin time (0415 GMT). The wave height was about 50 centimetres (20 inches).”

Residents will remain in a safe zone on higher ground while the threat remains. Emergency services said a decision to cancel the alarm will be made be specialists after low tide.

There have been no reports of damage or casualties as a result of the earthquake.

Additional reporting by agencies

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