Tsunami grazes Americas but impact slight

March 12, 2011 06:28

SAN FRANCISCO/QUITO - Thousands of people fled their homes along the Pacific coast of North and South America on Friday as a tsunami triggered by Japan's massive earthquake reached the region but spared it from major damage.

The giant wall of water lost much of its energy as it roared thousands of miles (km) across the Pacific Ocean, although many governments took no chances, ordering large-scale evacuations of coastal areas, ports and refineries.

The West Coast and Alaska Tsunami Warning Center downgraded the situation in California from a tsunami "warning" to an "advisory," and fears of a catastrophe proved unfounded.

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