UPDATE- 3:07 P.M. The Japanese news networks are officially reporting 88,000 people are missing, and 6.0 magnitude quakes are still striking the region.
UPDATE- 2:30 P.M. Reports are just coming in now of a separate earthquake, measuring 6.2 on the Ricther scale, with a different epicenter, hitting Nagano, Japan.
There are 2 more nuclear facilities in Nagano, and its unclear if they have sustained damage at this point. No tsunami alert has been issued for this earthquake.
Thousands are believed to be dead, and one report Fox News received is stating up to 80,000 are missing, after an 8.9 earthquake struck just off the coast of Sendia, Japan early Friday morning.
The quake caused a tsunami wave, reaching as high as 30 feet, and three miles inland in Japan. Hours after the original earthquake, more than 50 aftershocks measuring more than a 6.0 on the Richter scale have struck Japan.
The damage to the northern half of the country is staggering. A major oil refinery has been destroyed by a fire, a passenger train is missing, the roads and infrastructure are severely damaged, and new images and video of cities being devastated by the natural disaster are pouring in every minute.
Among the most dangerous damage is that done to Japan’s nuclear power plants. Thousands have been evacuated from the area around one plant in particular, who’s coolant system has been shut off. The pressure in the reactor is 1.5 times the normal pressure according to Fox News, and the AP is reporting that the plant will be releasing radioactive vapor to attempt to relieve some of the pressure.
Two other nuclear power plants in Japan are also having problems.
In the US, the tsunami waves have been effecting the West coast, and will continue to be an issue for the next 2-5 hours. Six thousand have been evacuated from Santa Barbara, California, alone.
Harbors and marinas throughout the West coast have been taking heavy damage from the surge, and reports are coming in that Crescent City, California, is receiving the worst of it.
The earthquake is the fifth largest in recorded history, and the largest to strike Japan.
To see a slideshow of images coming in from Japan, click here.