The massive earthquake and subsequent tsunami had me glued to the TV and the internet all day. It was beyond comprehension to watch a wall of water creep inexorably over land, sweeping away everything, and I mean everything in its path. Japan has awoken to a new day, with hundreds or thousands dead or missing, fires continuing to blaze out of control and a dangerous situation at one of its nuclear powerstations. The cooling system in one nuclear powerplant failed after the quake, and the reactor core is thought to have overheated. Radiation levels around the site are reported to be 1,000 times above normal, according to Sky TV this evening. Aftershocks continue to hit Japan, some as strong as 6.6 on the Richter scale - that is higher than the quake that devastated Christchurch, New Zealand, last month. More than 140 aftershocks bigger than magnitude 5 have been reported since the main quake, which struck at 05.46 GMT this morning, with a magnitude of 8.9.
The tsunami is rolling across the Pacific Ocean, and its effects on smaller islands or atolls are presently not known. The height of the tsunami as it is presently hitting the US states of Oregon and California has surprised me, with one station reporting a 2.02 m (6.6 ft) surge. Several people are reported to have been swept out to sea as they tried to take pictures. As I type this (1430 PST), the tsunamis are still rolling ashore, so if you're on the Pacific coast, please be careful.