Puerto Rico faced the possibility of being impacted by tsunami waves after a strong 7.6 magnitude earthquake hit the Caribbean on Tuesday, but a tsunami advisory was canceled after less than two hours.
The U.S. Geological Survey detected the earthquake shortly before 10 p.m. EST and a subsequent tsunami advisory was put into effect for Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands by the Pacific Tsunami Warning Center, which is operated by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.
The advisory was later canceled, but PTWC urged continued caution and warned there still may be minor sea fluctuations over the next few hours.
The earthquake struck in the ocean between Honduras and Cuba. USGS initially reported a 7.8 magnitude earthquake, but later downgraded it to a 7.6 magnitude quake. Jamaica and parts of Central America had also faced possible tsunami conditions. Some homes in Honduras were cracked due to the quake, but there were no immediate reports of serious damage or casualties related to the event, according to the Associated Press.
BREAKING: USGS: Powerful preliminary magnitude 7.8 earthquake strikes between Honduras and Cuba. Pacific Tsunami Warning Center warns that tsunami waves are possible in the region. pic.twitter.com/gfIkW3MRpe— NBC Nightly News with Lester Holt (@NBCNightlyNews) January 10, 2018
The National Weather Service in San Juan, Puerto Rico's capital, recommended people should stay away from the coast.
11:22pm Recommended actions: persons located in/near the ocean should move out of the waters, off the beach and away from the harbor.
Acciones recomendadas: personas cerca o en el agua deben alejarse de las aguas, fuera de las playas y alejados de los puertos.— NWS San Juan (@NWSSanJuan) January 10, 2018
Puerto Rico and its estimated 3.5 million residents are still recovering from an intense hurricane season last year. Hurricane Maria made landfall as a Category 4 storm over Puerto Rico in September and wiped out electricity across the island territory.
Power still has not been returned to more than 40 percent of customers four months later, according to ABC News this week. Maria caused an estimated $95 billion in damage and killed dozens of people.