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Alameda beaches still open, but authorities urge caution as tsunami nears

Submitted by on 1, March 11, 2011 – 8:14 am6 Comments

Updated 4:24 p.m. Friday, March 11

The National Weather Service has downgraded its tsunami warning to an advisory.

Authorities are urging caution as a tsunami generated by an 8.9 magnitude earthquake off the coast of Japan nears the California coast.

Alameda’s beaches are still open, but authorities are urging residents to stay off San Francisco Bay today and on high ground.

Alameda Fire Department Capt. Matt Tunney said the California coast could see one to two feet of extra surf as a result of the tsunami, though he said the Bay will likely only see a quarter of that impact.He said the tide is out now and isn’t expected to come back in until 5 p.m. today.

“It should be pretty minimal for the Bay Area,” Tunney said Friday morning.

That said, Tunney said authorities are urging people to stay off the Bay today, while U.S. Coast Guard spokesman Lt. Patrick Montgomery urged people to stay off the beaches and on higher ground.

Montgomery said the Coast Guard is preparing to assist if the tsunami, which has reportedly wreaked havoc on the Hawaiian coast and left hundreds dead in Japan, causes any damage here.

Tunney said the fire department will be broadcasting updates on Radio Alameda, which is 1280 AM on the radio dial. Additional information is on the National Weather Service’s website.

The weather service, which has documented tsunami impact in Hawaii and Alaska, has placed a tsunami warning in effect for most of the West Coast.

The San Francisco Chronicle reported this morning that authorities had closed Ocean Beach and Great Highway in anticipation of the waves, which weather service staffers said could hit at around 8 a.m.

The shoreline around Robert W. Crown beach was calm shortly after 9 a.m. Friday, and walkers could be seen taking their morning strolls on the beach.


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