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Magnitude 7 offshore quake shakes Central America as hurricane hits

SAN SALVADOR, El Salvador -- A strong earthquake off the Pacific Coast of Central America shook the region on Thursday, Nov. 24, and triggered a tsunami warning, U.S. monitoring agencies said, just as a hurricane barreled into the Caribbean coast...

SAN SALVADOR, El Salvador - A strong earthquake off the Pacific Coast of Central America shook the region on Thursday, Nov. 24, and triggered a tsunami warning, U.S. monitoring agencies said, just as a hurricane barreled into the Caribbean coasts of Nicaragua and Costa Rica.

Emergency services in El Salvador said on Twitter there were no immediate reports of damage at a national level, but urged those living along the country's Pacific coast to withdraw from the shore.

The 7.0 magnitude quake, initially reported as a magnitude 7.2, was very shallow at 6.4 miles below the seabed, which would have amplified its effect. Its epicenter was located some 93 miles south-southwest of Puerto Triunfo in El Salvador, according to the U.S. Geological Survey.

The Pacific Tsunami Warning Center warned that tsunami waves of up to 3 feet could hit the Pacific coasts of Nicaragua and El Salvador after the quake.

Nicaraguan President Daniel Ortega declared a state of emergency due to the quake and Hurricane Otto, which landed on the country's southeastern coast earlier on Thursday, his spokeswoman said.

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"We were serving lunch to the lawmakers and the earthquake started and we felt that it was very strong," said Jacqueline Najarro, a 38-year-old food seller at the Congress in San Salvador. "We were scared."

Earlier on Thursday, the Category 2 Hurricane Otto hit land near the southeastern coast of Nicaragua, where thousands had already been evacuated away from vulnerable coastal areas and into shelters.

Related Topics: WEATHER
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