Major tsunami damage in northern Japan - wave3.com-Louisville News, Weather & Sports

Update: Death toll rises after earthquake & tsunami in Japan, U.S. coastline threatened

HONOLULU (AP) - Japanese officials say at least 60 people have died and 56 people are missing after the magnitude 8.9 quake and 13-foot tsunami that hit the northeast part of the country.

People, boats, cars, buildings and tons of debris were swept away by the wave.

Fires triggered by Friday's quake are burning out of control up and down the coast, including one at an oil refinery.

A tsunami warning has been extended to the entire U.S. West Coast following a massive earthquake that slammed Japan's eastern coast.

Friday's 8.9 magnitude jolt struck offshore and was followed by more than 20 aftershocks.

The quake spawned a powerful tsunami, sweeping away boats, cars, homes and people along Japan's coast. Widespread fires are burning out of control, including one at an oil refinery.

Utility officials say there's a turbine building fire at a nuclear power plant in northeastern Japan.

Disaster officials say more than two dozen people have been killed with the death toll rising.

Japan's chief government spokesman says there's enormous damage and troops are being sent to the region.

In downtown Tokyo, large buildings shook violently and workers poured into the street for safety. The tremor event bent the upper tip of the iconic Tokyo Tower, a 1,093-foot steel structure inspired by the Eiffel Tower in Paris.

A tsunami is expected to hit the Hawaiian Islands at 7:55 a.m. EST.

"The first island to be hit would be the island of Kauai because its the western most island and this is coming from the west," says Chip McCreary of the Pacific Tsunami Warning Center. 

"Then is only takes 20 minutes to half an hour for the tsunami to cross the entire state of Hawaii so these are not like surf waves where we can have large waves on our north shore and the south shore be flat, these waves effectively wrap around the entire island and you will see impacts along all coasts."

(Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press.  All Rights Reserved.)

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