A massive earthquake hit off the coast of southern Mexico late Thursday night, causing buildings to sway violently and people to flee into o the streets in panic as far away as the capital city.
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The U.S. Geological Survey said the quake had a magnitude of 8.0 and its epicenter was 165 kilometers (102 miles) west of Tapachula in southern Chiapas state not far from Guatemala. It had a depth of 35 kilometers (22 miles).
The U.S. Tsunami Warning System said hazardous tsunami waves were possible on the Pacific coasts of several Central American countries. Waves were possible within the next three hours for Mexico, Guatemala, El Salvador, Costa Rica, Nicaragua, Panama, Honduras and Ecuador, it said. There was no tsunami threat for the U.S. West Coast.
Tsunami Waring includes Puerto Vallarta, Mexico. According to reports, chart below, Puerto Vallarta will remain in the warning until 3:00 AM.
Tsunami Update: Tsunami waves of 3 meters could be seen along the coast of Mexico in some areas, according to NOAA.
Boyas in the Pacific Coast indicate an increase in waves after the earthquake. It’s unlikely Puerto Vallarta will experience any measurable difference, however waves triggered from the earthquake will likely reach most of the Pacific Coast.
Waves of any size triggered by earthquakes are considered Tsunami Waves, none have been detected or measured at this time, the public is urged not to panic, but listen to local reports.
Civil protection officials were checking for damage in Chiapas, but the quake was so powerful that frightened residents in Mexico City more than 1,000 kilometers (650 miles) away fled apartment buildings, often in their pajamas, and gathered in groups in the street.
Around midnight buildings swayed strongly for more than minute, loosening light fixtures from ceilings. Helicopters crisscrossed the sky above Mexico City with spotlights. Some neighborhoods kept electricity while others remained in darkness.
Mexico’s civil protection agency said it was the strongest earthquake to hit the country since a devastating 1985 tremor that toppled buildings and killed thousands.
The government has said at least two people have died in southern Mexico, AFP reports.
The two fatalities came in the southern state of Chiapas, Interior Minister Miguel Angel Osorio Chong said.