CRESCENT CITY, CALIF. — Two docks were destroyed after a 5-foot surge rolled into the Crescent City Harbor on Wednesday, causing up to $700,000 in damage.
The surge may have been the result of an undersea earthquake with a magnitude of 8.1 that struck earlier in the day near Japan, prompting tsunami warnings for Japan, Russia and Alaska.
Thousands of people living along northern Japan's Pacific coast fled to higher ground, but Japan's meteorological agency withdrew its tsunami warning after about three hours. Tsunami warnings for Russia and coastal areas of Alaska also were canceled, as were tsunami watches for Hawaii, the Philippines, Taiwan, Indonesia and several Pacific islands.
In California, the National Weather Service reported ocean surges from 1 to 6 feet but did not call an official tsunami warning or watch. Surges were observed from Port San Luis on the Central California coast to the Oregon border. In Crescent City, about 20 miles south of the Oregon border, harbor workers noticed a fast-moving current around mid-afternoon that harbormaster Richard Young described as a "river within the ocean."
As the surge rushed out of the harbor, workers noticed that two floating docks in the inner basin were destroyed, Young said.