A devastating earthquake, 8.9 on the Richter scale, hit Japan today, causing extensive damage and a large tsunami. I can't imagine what it would be like to look out your window and see something like this headed your way. Our thoughts go out to everyone affected by the disaster.
A force this big propagates around the world, so beaches here in Southern California were expecting heightened wave activity -- nothing very serious, but certainly noticeable. Scientists of course immediately leapt into action to estimate what kind of effects should be expected. The National Weather Service circulated this map of predicted wave heights. Click to embiggen.
Naturally, the House of Representatives is trying to cut funding for tsunami warning centers.