March 16, 2022

JAPAN: Powerful 7.3-magnitude Earthquake Rattles Japan, Triggers Millions Of Power Outages. Struck About 39 Miles Below The Sea Off The East Coast Near Fukishima.

NBC2 News published March 16, 2022: Two earthquakes strike off coast of Japan.
written by Marianne Mizera, AccuWeather front page editor and Allison Finch, AccuWeather staff writer
Wednesday March 16, 2022

The quake occurred almost exactly 11 years after the same region was hit by a devastating earthquake and tsunami that triggered a nuclear meltdown.

An intense 7.3-magnitude earthquake shook northern Japan late Wednesday local time, triggering a tsunami alert for parts of the country's eastern shoreline and knocking out power to more than 2 million households.

The powerful quake, which was reported shortly after 10:30 a.m. EDT Wednesday, just around midnight Thursday in Japan, struck about 39 miles below the sea, according to the United States Geological Survey.

The USGS pinpointed the epicenter of the quake to be located 35.4 miles (57 km) east of Namie, off the coast of Fukushima.

Authorities said two aftershocks left at least seven people hurt as emergency crews responded to multiple reports of injuries, fires and structural damage in Minamisoma and Fukushima, according to local news station NHK Fukushima. The severity of their injuries was not immediately known. An 80-year-old man was hospitalized after he tripped and sprained his leg, NHK reported.

The quake shook large parts of eastern Japan, including Tokyo, where buildings swayed violently. Footage from NHK showed shards of windows scattered on the street near the main station and broken walls of a department store in Fukushima city.

Videos posted to social media captured the moments when the quake struck, showing utility poles shaking along night-time streets, cabinet doors flying open and objects getting tossed around apartments as pictures and clocks rattled against the walls. In one video, water was splashing out of a fish tank in a 13th-floor apartment.
Prime Minister Fumio Kishida told reporters that the government was assessing the extent of damage and promised to do its utmost for rescue and relief operations, according to The Associated Press.

“Please first take action to save your life,” Kishida said on social media.

The Japan Meteorological Agency (JMA) issued a tsunami warning for the region of as high as 3.28 feet (1 meter). The Pacific Tsunami Warning Center said there was no longer a tsunami threat, although the JMA kept its low-risk advisory in place. NHK reported waves of 7.87 inches (20 centimeters) in some places, and officials were calling on people in the affected areas to stay away from the coast.

Around 2.2 million homes across 14 prefectures, including Tokyo, were experiencing blackouts, TEPCO (Tokyo Electric Power Company) Power Grid reported.

This latest earthquake comes 11 years to the month after a 9.1-magnitude earthquake created a massive tsunami that devastated the same region and triggered a catastrophic nuclear meltdown at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant.

TEPCO, which also operates the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant, said workers found no abnormalities at the site, which was in the process of being decommissioned. Officials said that at the other site, Fukushima Daini NPS, "no significant fluctuations in monitoring post have been confirmed."

Earlier, NHK reported TEPCO received reports that water pumps of spent fuel storage pools at two of the reactor buildings in Fukushima had stopped functioning, but later they confirmed that they had resumed operations.

Also, a Tohoku Shinkansen express train partially derailed between Fukushima and Shiroishiza stations, but none of the 96 passengers aboard were reported injured.

Japan sits on the boundary of several tectonic plates and experiences a fifth of the world’s earthquakes of magnitude 6 or greater. Authorities have warned residents in the Fukushima, Yamagata and Miyagi prefectures to expect aftershocks.

In the past century, according to the USGS, 33 earthquakes with magnitudes of 7 or greater have occurred within 155 miles of this latest event, including seven since the March 2011 disaster.

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