New quakes rock tsunami-devastated Japan - WKOW 27: Madison, WI Breaking News, Weather and Sports

UPDATE: New quakes rock tsunami-devastated Japan


SENDAI, Japan (AP) -- More than 125 aftershocks have rattled devastated northeastern Japan, where Friday's giant earthquake and tsunami killed at least hundreds of people.

The U.S. Geological Survey says a strong earthquake struck just before noon Saturday in the same place where the magnitude 8.9 quake hit on Friday.

Saturday's quake measured 6.8 and was followed by a series of temblors originating from the same area. It's unclear whether the latest quakes caused any more damage.

The government puts the death toll at just over 400, but nearly 800 people are missing. An untold number of bodies are believed lying in rubble and debris. Rescue workers have been having a hard time even reaching hard-hit areas.

States of emergency have been declared for five nuclear reactors at two power plants after the units lost cooling ability following the earthquake. Crews are working to prevent meltdowns. Thousands who live near the plants have been evacuated. Officials warn there could be severe power shortages, especially in the northeast.


TOKYO (AP) -- Japanese nuclear officials say radiation levels inside a nuclear power plant have surged to 1,000 times their normal levels after the cooling system failed.

The nuclear safety agency said early Saturday that some radiation has also seeped outside the plant, prompting calls for further evacuations of the area. Some 3,000 people have already been urged to leave their homes.

The cooling system for a reactor at the Fukushima Daiichi power plant failed on Friday after a massive earthquake caused a power outage.

The continued loss of electricity has also delayed the planned release of vapor from inside the reactor to ease pressure. Pressure inside one of the reactors had risen to 1.5 times the level considered normal.


UNDATED (AP) -- Low-lying areas along the west cost have been evacuated and beaches closed.

But unlike the 23-foot-high wall of water that struck Japan, the waves hitting the Washington and Oregon coast so far have been similar to those on a typical stormy day.

Officials say they could get bigger, though, especially along the California coast, where waves up to 7 feet are possible.

In Santa Cruz, Calif., the waves have been rough enough to break loose a couple of boats and a dock -- and entice surfers. As one off-duty trooper put it: "The tides are right, the swell is good, the weather is good, the tsunami is there. We're going out."

Tsunami warnings have been issued for the entire coast from Alaska and Canada to Mexico.


TOKYO (WKOW) -- A massive earthquake measuring 8.9 on the Richter scale shook off the coast of Northern Japan, sending most of the Pacific into tsunami warnings.

The temblor triggered a 13-foot tsunami striking Japan's Miyagi Prefecture, sweeping boats, cars, buildings and other debris inland. The AP reports fires triggered by the quake are burning out of control up and down Japan's Pacific coast, including one at an oil refinery.

Japanese police say 200 to 300 bodies have been found in a northeastern coastal area.

A Japanese coast guard official says a search is under way for a ship carrying 80 dock workers that was swept away when a tsunami struck the northeastern coast. The vessel was washed away from a shipbuilding site in Miyagi prefecture. That's the area most affected by a massive offshore earthquake on Friday. The quake triggered the tsunami.

Along the west coast, residents living in low-lying areas along the Oregon coast are evacuating as tsunami surges across the Pacific.

In Washington, Sheriff's deputies and firefighters in Grays Harbor County are knocking on doors in low-lying areas of the small coastal community of Moclips, handing out tsunami warning fliers and urging residents to evacuate.

The Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department says Malibu beach will be closed Friday as a precaution. Police say Newport Beach in Orange County also will be closed.

In all, more than a dozen nations are under tsunami warnings.

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