Government issues travel warning, sends navy to Japan, braces west coast

In the anticipated travel alert issued after an 8.9 magnitude earthquake struck Northern Japan today, the U.S. Department of State is urging U.S. citizens to avoid travel to Japan through the end of the month. Offering condolences for loss of life and damage caused by the event, President Obama ordered mobilization of military disaster relief sending the U.S. Navy to aid early this morning and directed FEMA to go on high alert in anticipation of damage to U.S. coastal areas.

“Strong aftershocks are likely for weeks following a strong earthquake such as this one” the Department of State said in today’s travel alert. Those in the affected are are urged to move to open spaces away from walls, windows, buildings and other structures.

Navy ships USS Essex, USS Blueridge, USS Tortuga have been deployed and are on their way to Japan to help in anticipated relief efforts. U.S. Navy ships in Guam had been told to head out to sea for safety reasons earlier in the day.

U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton said today “I join President Obama in offering our sincere condolences for the loss of life and damage caused by the earthquake and tsunamis in Japan. We are closely monitoring the tsunamis that may impact other parts the world, including Hawaii and the West Coast of the United States.”

In California, residents are preparing for the worst. Under an advisory, not a warning, those who live on the water have been told to sail 3 miles off shore for safety concerns.