Tsunami Warning in San Francisco: Beaches Closed

Update 4:36 p.m.: One person has been declared dead after a tsunami hit the shores of Northern California earlier today, causing millions of dollars in damages to boats and surrounding docks, according to media reports. Gov. Jerry Brown has declared a state of emergency in Del Norte, Humboldt, San Mateo, and Santa Cruz counties, according to his office.

Update 12:18 p.m.: Crescent City officials tell reporters that four people have been swept out to sea, and one person could be dead.

Update 10 am.: Santa Cruz reports that it has damaged boats, as well as damage and debris along the coast. There are no reports of damages in San Francisco or Marin County. San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee will hold a news conference at noon to discuss the tsunami warning and talk about how to help earthquake victims in Japan.

Update 9:47 a.m.: KGO reports minor damage in Crescent City. All docks are gone, 35 boats crushed. The tide began rising shortly after 7:30 a.m. along beaches in Crescent City. A surge from the first wave hit Santa Cruz.

Original story 7:24 a.m.: The massive tsunami that washed away parts of Japan yesterday could hit San Francisco's coastline as early as 8 a.m. with a series of much smaller waves.

No evacuations have been ordered in San Francisco, but beaches and Pacifica schools are closed today, as officials prepare for a series of 2-to 5-foot waves off the coast. Muni is reportedly stopping service on the N Judah and L Taraval.

Media outlets are saying that waves could hit San Francisco at 8:08 a.m. “Stay off the beach,” National Weather Service forecaster Diana Henderson told reporters at 6:15 a.m. “It's not just one wave, it's a series that could last up to 12 hours after the initial arrival. So even after 8:30 a.m., please still don't go to the beach. It will be a series of inundations.” [jump]

BART officials say trains are running on time today, yet they issued a statement this morning, saying they are continually monitoring the situation in Hawaii and Northern California. “Given the nature of our underground tunnels and stations, we are exercising extreme caution,” BART officials said. “The situation could change quickly.”

Police have closed off the upper and lower Great Highway from Point Lobos and 48th Avenue to Lake Merced. The warning was issued after a 8.9-magnitude earthquake hit eastern Japan which triggered a massive tsunami. 

Check back for updates.

Read More: SF Weekly writer Peter Jamison details the scene at Ocean Beach this morning, and SF Weekly Calendar Editor Keith Bowers takes a look at how SF Gate commenters handled the tsunami warning with grace, class, and lots of maturity.

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