11 Mar 2011

Marshall Islands downgrades tsunami warning to alert level

11:07 pm on 11 March 2011

Marshall Islands disaster management officials have downgraded an earlier tsunami warning to tsunami watch about an hour before the predicted arrival time of a possible tsunami from the massive earthquake off the coast of Japan.

The manager of the government owned radio station, Antari Elbon, says they've been advised that there's no danger as far as officials are concerned.

After a Pacific-wide tsunami alert was issued following the Japan earthquake, Marshall Islands disaster management officials broadcast warnings of a possible tsunami to residents of this low-lying, atoll nation.

Most islands in the Marshall Islands are less than one meter above sea level.

The tsunami alert said the Marshall Islands should brace for a possible tsunami before mid night local time.

Local disaster officials say atolls rarely see serious wave action as a result of earthquakes in the Pacific because their geology differs from volcanic islands and Pacific rim coastlines.

A local dive master, Mathew Holly, says National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration buoys located 300 to 600 kilometres northeast and southeast of Japan, showed a less than one meter wave.