Samar Island in the Philippines (Photo : RURO Photography, flickr.com)
After a strong earthquake occurred in Guiuan, East Samar in the Philippines on Friday, the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (PHIVOLCS) issued a Level 3 Tsunami Alert for the surrounding coastal area.
The earthquake, which occurred at 8:47 pm (Philippine Time) on Friday had a depth of 10 km. and registered a preliminary magnitude of 7.7. PHIVOLCS soon after declared the tsunami alert and strongly advised people in the surrounding area to immediately evacuate to higher ground due to severe safety threats. The following coastal areas were included in the evacuation mandate: Northern Samar, Eastern Samar, Leyte, Southern Leyte, Surigao del Norte and Surigao del Sur.
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"Coastal areas in [these]...provinces are expected to be affected by high tsunami waves," PHIVOLCS said in a statement. "Boats at sea are advised to stay in the deeper parts of the open seas until the threat has passed. If there is sufficient time, boats in harbors and enclosed bays are advised to go to the deeper parts of the open seas until the threat has passed."
As of 12:10 am (Philippines Time) on September 1st, PHIVOLCS issued a tsunami alert cancellation and informed the local government of the affected coastal regions to advise residents that had evacuated that it is once again safe to return to their homes.
Initial reports received by PHIVOLCS regarding sea level disturbances showed that the tsunami resulting from the earlier earthquake had not reached life-threatening levels.
The National Mapping and Resource Information Authority (NAMRIA) reported a small tsunami in Surigao City occurred at 10:48 pm with heights of 16-19 centimeters. The Pacific Tsunami Warning Center (PTWC) reported a 3 centimeter tsunami in Legaspi City at 9:43 pm and in Davao City at 9:50 pm. Ten minutes immediately following the earthquake, waves of approximately one-half meter were observed in Pilar, Surigao del Norte in Siargo Island. PHIVOLCS says it does not expect any bigger tsunamis to occur and subsequently announced that all tsunami alerts were definitively and finally lifted.
Additionally, a tsunami watch that had been issued for Hawaii as a result of the earthquake has been lifted. The National Weather Center maintains that there is no threat of a destructive tsunami occurring, but advised that residents in some coastal areas may observe minor sea level changes or unusual currents over the next several hours.