UPDATE: 6 p.m.
The Pacific Tsunami Warning Center has canceled a short-lived tsunami watch for Hawaii. The 7.5 magnitude quake off the Kuril Islands did not generate a tsunami strong enough to reach Hawaii shores, they said.
The watch was in effect for about an hour.
A tsunami watch has been issued tonight for the state of Hawaii, according to the Pacific Tsunami Warning Center.
A 7.5-magnitude earthquake near Russia’s far eastern Kuril Islands, north of Japan, led to the 4:59 p.m. watch in Hawaii.
“Based on all available data a tsunami may have been generated by this earthquake that could be destructive on coastal areas even far from the epicenter. An investigation is underway to determine if there is a tsunami threat to Hawaii,” according to the alert.
According to the U.S. Geological Survey, the quake was about 37 miles below the surface of the ocean and was centered east of the Kuril Islands.
The PTWC estimated its strength at 7.8 magnitude initially but the USGS said it was 7.5 magnitude.
If tsunami waves were to impact Hawaii, the estimated earliest arrival of the first wave is 10:39 p.m., the PTWC said at 5:27 p.m.
Further messages by PTWC will be issued hourly or until the threat to Hawaii has passed. If officials determine there is tsunami threat to the islands, they would upgrade the tsunami watch to a warning.
The Associated Press in Moscow reported that a tsunami warning was issued for the closest shores to the epicenter and said officials said hazardous waves were possible within 620 miles of the epicenter.
Hawaii is about 3,500 miles southeast of the Kuril Islands.
Earthquakes of this strength in the past have caused tsunamis far from the epicenter, and the U.S. National Tsunami Warning Center was analyzing the event to determine the level of danger, the AP reported.
The last major earthquake in the region was an 8.3 magnitude temblor in 2006 which sent small tsunami waves to northern Japan.
3-24, at 6pm. Earthquake with a magnitude of 7.8 has occurred at approximately 4:59 HST in the vicinity of the Kuril Islands.
The Pacific Tsunami Warning Center has issued a Tsunami Watch for the Island and State of Hawaii. https://t.co/qJtOVlHiHa
— COH Civil Defense (@CivilDefenseHI) March 25, 2020