Beaches, pier open after tsunami warning

Huntington Beach has reopened its pier and beaches after a tsunami advisory passed without major incident.

Lt. Michael Baumgartner, the city's marine safety operations supervisor, said the pier reopened at 1 p.m. and the beaches at 4 p.m. Huntington Beach closed its seaside areas early Friday morning in anticipation of waves from the tsunami in Japan striking the coast.

The city was under a tsunami advisory from the National Weather Service, which is less urgent than a tsunami warning. Officials didn't expect large waves, but figured that currents in the water could pose dangers to swimmers and boaters, said Brevyn Mettler, the emergency services coordinator for the Huntington Beach Fire Department.

In the end, the tsunami had a minimal impact on Huntington, with water levels rising and falling for several hours but no damage reported, Baumgartner said.

"It was actually very uneventful," he said. "The emergency managers made a decision to err on the side of caution."

Becky Sanford, a manager at Duke's restaurant by the pier, said she and her coworkers were on the lookout for big waves, but saw none.

Ruby's on the pier reopened at 1:30 p.m.

"I just noticed because there was a little bit of wind, the ocean was a little busier," she said. "But no rough seas, no damage to the building. It was a beautiful day. It was pretty smooth."

The Huntington Beach Union High School District, Huntington Beach City School District and Ocean View School District all reported that no schools had been closed because of the advisory.

Huntington went through previous tsunami advisories in January 2009 and February 2010, but the city suffered no damage either time, Mettler said.

Huntington has a sister city in Anjo, Japan, but the city resides far outside the epicenter of the earthquake. Spokeswoman Laurie Payne said the city had contacted its liaison in Anjo and gotten no reports of damage.

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