By Kristine L. Alave
Philippine Daily Inquirer
(Note: All Filipinos living abroad, please, let’s pray for the Philippines and all the Filipinos).
Four tsunamis spawned by the 8.9-magnitude earthquake that hit Japan on Friday have entered the country, with two more approaching based on data from tidal gauges in the Pacific as of 10 p.m. Friday night, according to the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (Phivolcs).
Four tidal waves have been recorded in the eastern seaboard, based on data from stations maintained by the National Mapping Resource Information Authority in San Vicente, Cagayan province, Virac in Catanduanes and Baler in Aurora, said Phivolcs head Renato Solidum Jr.
Since tidal waves were still occurring in Japan, Solidum said they expect more tsunamis to hit the Philippines.
The good news was that the tidal waves recorded in Okinawa did not appear to grow stronger or higher, he said.
The first wave, at 60 centimeters, hit San Vicente, Cagayan Station at 6 p.m. The wave measured 40 cm as it traveled down the country, arriving in Virac at 6:30 p.m. It had the same height when it reached Baler at 6:30 p.m.
The second wave, again at 60 cm, arrived 20 minutes later in San Vicente. By the time it reached Baler at 7:10 p.m, it had gone down to 40 cm.
The third wave, at 40 cm, hit San Vicente at 6:50 p.m, growing to 70 cm as it crossed to Catanduanes. Upon reaching Baler at 8 p.m., it was back to 30 cm.
The fourth wave’s maximum height was 40 cm when it hit the San Vicente station at 7:30 p.m. Phivolcs said it was awaiting data on this wave’s movement.
Coastal villages became ghost towns in a matter of hours on Friday after Phivolcs placed the entire eastern seaboard from Batanes to Davao provinces on tsunami Alert Level 2 in anticipation of big waves generated by the Japan quake.
Solidum placed 19 provinces facing the Pacific Ocean on Alert Level 2 at around 3:30 p.m. on Friday, meaning residents should be on alert for unusual waves.
The agency initially placed the eastern seaboard on Alert Level 1 at 2:08 p.m., 22 minutes after the massive quake hit the coast of Honshu in Japan.
The Pacific Tsunami Warning Center (PTWC) in Hawaii, which has placed 20 countries on tsunami warning, classified the tsunami from Japan as “potentially destructive.”
The provinces covered by the tsunami alert are: the Batanes group, Cagayan, northernmost Ilocos Norte, Isabela, Quezon, Aurora, Camarines Norte, Camarines Sur, Albay, Catanduanes, Sorsogon, Northern Samar, Eastern Samar, Leyte, Southern Leyte, Surigao del Norte, Surigao del Sur, Davao Oriental and Davao del Sur.