It's devastating coastal areas. The Wall Street Journal reports the quake is a magnitude 8.9:
That makes it the fifth largest recorded world-wide since 1900, according to the U.S. Geological Service, larger than the 7.9-magnitude Great Kanto Earthquake that devastated Tokyo in 1923 or the 6.8 magnitude quake that hit Kobe in 1995.
Hawaii Civil Defense is advising all residents in tsunami inundation zones to evacuate immediately.The alert, issued at 10:38, reads "Leave all coastal evacuation zones immediately. Refer to Hawaiian Telcom or Paradise Pages for evacuation maps."
The earliest that hazardous waves could hit Hawaii is 2:59 a.m., said the agency, according to Pacific Tsunami Warning Center, based in Ewa Beach.
Other locales named in warnings:
Russia and Indonesia, Central American countries like Guatemala, El Salvador and Costa Rica...In the Philippines, the government issued a warning for 19 provinces along the coast, possibly affecting hundreds of thousands of people. A tsunami could could hit by 6 p.m. (5 a.m. ET), it said.
The LA Times reports on the potential impact on the West Coast:
A tsunami warning has been issued for the central and northern California coast and Oregon, the National Weather Service announced early Friday. In the San Francisco Bay Area, an emergency warning system announcement for a tsunami warning was braodcast just after 1 a.m. Waves could begin arriving in Crescent City, Calif., at 7:23 a.m. and the Bay Area shortly after 8 a.m.
A lower-level tsunami advisory was issued for the Southern California coast south of Point Concepcion, which includes southern San Luis Obispo County and the counties of Ventura, Los Angeles, Orange and San Diego.
National Geographic has the best general primer on tsunamis I've found so far.
2:30 PST. BBC World has footage of a huge ocean whirlpool. Here's what it looked like inside a Japanese supermarket. And a home as the occupants evacuated. Other videos: a sea of floating cars; an airport runway is quickly overrun by water; a view from the air; the scene in an office; inside a department store; an explosion at an industrial facility.