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Wednesday, January 16 , 2019, 2:56 pm | Overcast 61º


Tsunami Advisory Canceled for Santa Barbara, Southern California After Chile Earthquake

The 8.3-magnitude Chile earthquake caused tidal surges across the Pacific Ocean Thursday morning with maximum tsunami height of 1 foot expected for Santa Barbara County

There was normal activity at the Santa Barbara Harbor early Thursday morning and the National Tsunami Warning Center so far has observed a maximum tsunami height of 0.2 feet, which is above normal tide levels. Click to view larger
There was normal activity at the Santa Barbara Harbor early Thursday morning and the National Tsunami Warning Center so far has observed a maximum tsunami height of 0.2 feet, which is above normal tide levels.  (John Palminteri / KEYT photo)

The tsunami advisory was lifted for Santa Barbara County Thursday afternoon and Vandenberg Air Force Base beaches were reopened. 

The 8.3-magnitude earthquake near Chile prompted a tsunami advisory for part of Southern California, including San Luis Obispo, Santa Barbara and Ventura counties, with an estimated time of arrival of 5:06 a.m. Thursday.

There wasn’t dramatic wave action or surges of water into the Santa Barbara Harbor and local beaches Thursday morning, but authorities warned people to stay out of the area until the tsunami advisory was lifted.

It can take hours for waves to peak, according to NOAA’s National Tsunami Warning Center.

"A tsunami was generated by this event but no longer poses a threat to these areas," according to the Santa Barbara County of Emergency Management, which sent out a notice of the canceled advisory at 12:30 p.m. Thursday.  

"Some areas may see small sea level changes and ongoing surges." 

Vandenberg officials announced the closure of all four beaches Wednesday night after the tsunami advisory was issued, but resumed normal operations by Thursday afternoon. 

Surf Beach will remain closed to the public due to snowy plover season restrictions, Wall and Minuteman beaches are open with limitations and Brown Beach is open to the public without any limitations, according to Vandenberg. 

Around 7 a.m. Thursday, tide gauges showed increased inflow activity at Port San Luis and Ventura harbors, according to the National Weather Service.

Santa Barbara has had a maximum observable height of 0.2 feet and both Ventura and Port San Luis were also under a 1-foot impact, which was expected. 

That height is the maximum observable tsunami height above tide level at the time of measurement. 

The new estimate for the Santa Barbara area was a maximum tidal impact of 0.6 feet around noon, according to NOAA. 

In Chile, the deadly earthquake resulted in a tsunami with heights over 15 feet in some areas, including the coastal city of Coquimbo.  

Noozhawk managing editor Giana Magnoli can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk, @NoozhawkNews and @NoozhawkBiz. Connect with Noozhawk on Facebook.

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