El Salvador, Nicaragua Earthquake: Coastal Evacuation Order Lifted [Updated]

Scott Hough

Update 4:10 p.m. ET: The PTWC is now reporting that the tsunami threat has passed. The organization advises that "minor sea level fluctuations" might be observed along the Pacific coast of Central America for the next several hours.

Original Article: The U.S. Geological Survey is reporting that a magnitude-7.0 earthquake has struck 153 km southwest of Puerto El Triunfo, El Salvador, in the Pacific Ocean.

The quake was said to have occurred at 1:43 p.m. ET at a depth of 33 km.

Tsunami waves between 0.3 and 1.0 meters are expected along the Pacific coast of Nicaragua and El Salvador, according to the Pacific Tsunami Warning Center.

The PWTC advises that people caught in tsunami waves might drown, be crushed by flotsam, or even swept out into the open ocean, making rescue difficult.

Breaking News is reporting that the PTWC advises that the risk of a tsunami remains along the Pacific coast of Central America. The news organization states that the government of El Salvador has advised citizens to evacuate areas within 1 km of the Pacific coast and to move to high ground.

No damage or injuries are being reported in El Salvador, Honduras, Guatemala, or Nicaragua as a result of the quake or possible tsunami.

The Caribbean coast of Central America has been battered by Hurricane Otto over recent days, with the storm making landfall at about 1 p.m. today, almost simultaneously with the earthquake.

More than 15,000 people were evacuated in advance of Otto's landfall, which has prompted the declaration of a national emergency in Costa Rica, according to the Weather Network. The heavy rains accompanying Otto have raised concerns about flooding and mudslides, as reported by the Independent.

The New York Times reported on a tsunami that swept the Pacific coast of Nicaragua following an earthquake in 1992. That quake reached magnitude-7.0, and it was located 75 miles southwest of Managua, which resulted in at least 14 dead, 25 missing, and 22 injured people.

A five-foot tidal surge was reported after the 1992 Nicaraguan earthquake in Puerto Sandino, where shipping containers and vehicles were said to have been "thrown" and damage was sustained to a dock.

The 7.0 quake in 1992 was described by Alejandro Morales with the Institute of Earth Studies as the "strongest in the country in 20 years."

Google advises those caught in areas affected by earthquakes to expect aftershocks and to be prepared for falling debris and buildings that might accompany them. The company further recommends avoiding open flames in buildings while the possibility of aftershocks remains, staying away from coastal areas, driving carefully, and making preparations to take detours if necessary.

In early 2011, a magnitude-9.0 earthquake struck near Tōhoku, Japan, which resulted in a devastating tsunami and the nuclear meltdown at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant.

Google reports that the Earth experiences about one major 8.0-or-greater-magnitude earthquake each year.

Just three days ago, a 6.9-magnitude quake occurred off the coast of Japan, near Fukushima, as reported by Zero Hedge, which was then followed by a 5.5-magnitude quake yesterday. Tsunami up to three meters were forecast after the November 21-quake, as reported by the Guardian.

Through this week's Japanese tsunami scare, the largest waves observed were said to have been 1.4 meters in the port town of Sendai. Twelve people were reported injured in the latest Japanese quake, including an elderly Fukushima woman, who was hurt when a piece of furniture fell onto her with the heaving earth.

[Featured Image by Arnulfo Franco/AP Images]

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