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Magnitude 7 offshore quake shakes Central America as hurricane hits

Reuters , Thursday 24 Nov 2016
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A strong earthquake off the Pacific Coast of Central America shook the region on Thursday, and could prompt hazardous tsunami waves, U.S. monitoring agencies said, just as a hurricane barreled into the Caribbean coasts of Nicaragua and Costa Rica.

Emergency services in El Salvador said on Twitter there were no immediate reports of damage at a national level.

The 7.0 magnitude quake, initially reported as a magnitude 7.2, was very shallow at 10.3 kilometers (6.4 miles) below the seabed, which would have amplified its effect. Its epicenter was located some 149 km (93 miles) south-southwest of Puerto Triunfo in El Salvador, according to the U.S. Geological Survey.

Nicaraguan President Daniel Ortega declared a state of emergency due to the quake and Hurricane Otto, which landed on the country's southeastern coast earlier on Thursday, his spokeswoman said.

The Pacific Tsunami Warning Center warned that "hazardous tsunami waves are possible for coasts located within 300 kilometers (186 miles) of the earthquake epicenter."

El Salvador's government also said it saw the threat of tsunami waves hitting the coast.

Earlier on Thursday, the Category 2 hurricane hit land near the southeastern coast of Nicaragua, where thousands had already been evacuated away from vulnerable coastal areas and into shelters.

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