An 8.9 magnitude earthquake struck Japan while most Americans slept last night sending shockwaves to the entire Pacific Rim.

As a result tsunami warnings have been issued throughout the entire Pacific including Hawaii and the West Coast.

KNIA/KRLS news has been in contact with Sara Tekula of the Plant a Wish Foundation who visited Knoxville last summer and lives in Maui. Tekula says they experienced a similar warning last year around this time after the Chile earthquake and the wave generated was minor so everyone got to practice these proceedures. Therefore, she says this time around they are much more prepared especially with all of the different ways to get information out to the public. However, Tekula says this tsunami appears to have a higher sea level rise and potential damage.

Tekula goes on to say it’s great to have so many people around the world sending their support but encourages everyone to send all the love, prayer and support you can muster to the people of Japan as they are much worse off and will be for a long time.

It is anticipated that 6 foot waves will hit the Hawaii coasts at approximately 7:07am central time.

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