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Beaches Closed And Hundreds Evacuated Along Calif. Coast

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SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — A few coastal school districts south of San Francisco cancelled classes and officials closed beaches and near-shore highways after a tsunami warning was issued following a strong offshore earthquake near Japan.

   San Mateo County school districts in Half Moon Bay, Pacifica and the Pescadero area were all closed Friday as officials waited for the tsunami, expected to hit the coast throughout the morning.

   Officials in San Francisco closed Great Highway, Ocean Beach and other city beaches.

   BART officials said there was a possibility service would be suspended but were hopeful service would continue unabated.

   School officials in Santa Cruz County say they did not close any schools but the city’s harbor was evacuated.

Police say hundreds of people have been evacuated from low lying areas, the harbor and the embarcadero in Morro Bay in San Luis Obispo County because of concern about the tsunami created by the devastating earthquake in Japan.

Police Chaplain James Berg says swells knocked some boats loose and damaged a dock when the initial surge arrived Friday morning. More surges are expected.

Berg says evacuees have been sent to a veterans building and a supermarket parking lot.

   The tsunami devastated Japan’s eastern coastline, and hit Hawaii hours later but caused no major damage there.

   (Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press.  All Rights Reserved.)

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