Map from the National Tsunami Warning Centers shows timing of tsunami waves.
Map from the National Tsunami Warning Centers shows timing of tsunami waves.

Tsunami advisories were in effect for Southern California Thursday as waves generated by a huge earthquake in Chile began lapping ashore, but no flooding was expected.

The rise in sea level began to register shortly before 5 a.m., with the first waves under a foot. The first significant waves were seen in Newport Beach, then the tsunami began to move north.

Authorities cautioned that waves could rise as high as three feet along the shores of Los Angeles and Orange counties and the Central Coast because of the monster earthquake that struck Chile with a magnitude of 8.3.

The San Diego County coastline south of San Onofre was not expected to be affected, though the NOAA tide gauge in La Jolla recorded evidence of the first waves.

NOAA tide gauge in La Jolla records initial tsunami wave.

The National Weather Service issued the advisories Wednesday night. They cover the coast from San Onofre State Beach to Point Piedras Blancas in San Luis Obispo County. An advisory was also in effect for the Channel Islands, according to the weather service

“If you are located in this coastal area, move off the beaches and out of harbors and marinas,” the weather service said.

The advisories warn of strong currents that could prove “hazardous to swimmers, boats and coastal structures.”

“Areas within the advisory should not expect widespread inundation. However, there is the potential for strong currents in harbors and marinas.”

The Orange County Emergency Operations Center Public Information Hotline was open to field calls about the tsunami advisories. The number is (714) 628- 7085.

The earthquake that triggered the high-wave threats struck off the coast of central Chile at 3:55 p.m. and had a preliminary magnitude of 8.3.

Waves were expected to arrive in Los Angeles Harbor and Newport Beach beginning about 4:45 a.m. with peak wave heights of two to three feet in the Los Angeles area and slightly lower along Orange County’s coast. The first waves may not be the largest, forecasters said.

Authorities throughout the areas subject to the tsunami advisories warned members of the public to stay away from the waterfront, including marinas and piers. Beaches, harbors and piers in Orange County will be closed as of 4 a.m., according to the Orange County Emergency Operations Center. Going to the coast to observe the tsunami is also a bad idea, authorities said.

City News Service contributed to this article.

Chris Jennewein

Chris Jennewein is Editor & Publisher of Times of San Diego.