Tsunami warnings on US west coast has Oregon residents moving inland

Tsunami warnings coming off the huge Japan earthquake Friday has Oregon residents and others along the US west coast moving away from the shore. Tsunami warnings are also in effect for the Hawaiian Islands.

Don Ryan/AP
Car headlights from a steady stream of cars form a line as residents evacuate the coastal town of Seaside, Ore., Friday, March, 11. Tsunami warnings were issued as a result of an earthquake in Japan.

Residents living near beaches along the Oregon coast evacuated their homes Friday morning, and gift shops and other businesses stayed shuttered as a tsunami surged across the Pacific following a massive earthquake in Japan.

Some evacuees in Seaside drove into a hilly area overlooking town to wait for the predicted big waves, which were expected to hit the Oregon coast between 7 a.m. and 8 a.m.

Restaurants, gift shops and other businesses in the tourist town were shuttered, and hotels were evacuated.

Evacuations were reported in parts of several coastal communities.

Streams of eastbound traffic were reported on some roads near the coast as residents sought higher ground, and long lines were reported at some gas stations.

Coastal communities were bracing for waves of up to 6 feet that could cause damage.

Schools up and down the coast were closed.

Gov. John Kitzhaber issued a statement urging "all Oregonians along the coast to heed tsunami alarms and follow instructions from public safety officials about heading to higher ground."

Kitzhaber added, "Our thoughts are with the people of Japan."

Emergency management officials have been up all night making preparations after getting word of the tsunami.

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