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T&T tsunami alert cancelled

Published: 
Wednesday, September 5, 2012
The screenshot of the Pacific Tsumani Warning Centre website, taken Wednesday at 12.30 p.m., shows no tsunami warning, watch or advisory in effect for the Caribbean. At the bottom, the original and the second advisory are listed.

UPDATED WED 5 SEP, 4.04 PM

After a powerful, magnitude-7.9 earthquake shook Costa Rica this morning, a tsunami watch was in effect for Trinidad and Tobago and several Caribbean islands, but only for a few minutes.

The US Geological Survey (USGS) said the 10:42 a.m. quake struck off the Costa Rican shore. There were no immediate accounts of damage or injuries but it was felt as far away as Managua, the capital of neighboring Nicaragua.

Following the quake, at 10.47 am the Pacific Tsunami Warning Center (PTWC) issued a tsunami warning for “countries within and bordering the Caribbean Sea...except for Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands”, according to the PTWC website.

"A Caribbean-wide tsunami watch is in effect," the warning said.

"Earthquakes of this size have the potential to generate a widespread destructive tsunami that can affect coastlines across the Caribbean region," it further stated.

However, three minutes later, the PTWC posted a second message that said, “The tsunami watch for the Caribbean is cancelled because it was meant for the Pacific and was inadvertently sent to the Caribbean by mistake. We apologise for any inconvenience this may have caused.”

The PTWC is one of two tsunami warning centres of the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).