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The Associated Press (“AP”) is the essential global news network, delivering fast, unbiased news from every corner of the world to all media platforms and formats. On any given day, more than half the world’s population sees news from the AP. Founded in 1846, the AP today is one of the largest and most trusted sources of independent newsgathering. The AP considers itself to be the backbone of the world’s information system, serving thousands of daily newspaper, radio, television, and online customers with coverage in text, photos, graphics, audio and video.

House lawmakers have released their proposed 2011-2013 transportation budget, and it includes less service cuts and a smaller rate hike to Washington's ferry system than Gov. Chris Gregoire's earlier bid.

The House proposal cuts ferry services by $3.1 million, compared to Gregoire's $20 million reduction in her December budget. Gregoire also had proposed a rate hike of 10%. The House proposal puts it at 7.5% in 2011 and 2.5% in 2012.

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Construction should start as soon as Wednesday at a site near Copalis Beach in Grays Harbor County on a Doppler radar station.

Sen. Maria Cantwell's office says it could be operating as soon as September, giving the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) a better look at Pacific storms heading for the Northwest.

The new radar will fill in information that is missing because the Olympic mountains block the only other Western Washington Doppler radar station on Camano Island.

Cliff Owen / AP

Federal bank regulators have sued three former top executives of Washington Mutual (WaMu), the biggest U.S. bank ever to fail, accusing them of negligence in allowing risky mortgage lending and seeking $900 million in damages.

Snohomish County Prosecutor Mark Roe says he'll seek the death penalty if Byron Scherf is convicted of aggravated murder in the death of Monroe prison Corrections Officer Jayme Biendl.

In announcing his decision Tuesday in Everett, Roe said jurors "should have the opportunity of imposing the ultimate punishment if they see fit."

Biendl was strangled Jan. 29 in the prison chapel.

Brian Atwater / University of Washington

The same type of tectonic earthquake that hit Japan - involving the collision of plates that make up the Earth's crust - could happen in the Northwest.  Similar faults lie in the Cascadia subduction zone. 

The head of the Pacific Northwest Seismic Network at the University of Washington, John Vidale, told The Seattle Times' Sandi Doughton the Cascadia fault last ruptured in 1700.  Scientists believe it generated at magnitude 9 earthquake and a tsunami that may have been bigger than the one that battered Japan. 

Ted S. Warren / AP

Updated at 10:32 a.m.

The first wave of the tsunami to hit the Washington Coast measured 1.6 feet at La Push and about half a foot at Neah Bay and Port Angeles, according to the National Weather Service.

Tsunami Adisory Remains in Effect

Science and Operations officer Kirby Cook says the tsunami advisory is still in effect for the Washington Coast and more waves could be on the way. Cook says more waves are landing in California and that means Washington and Oregon can expect more as well.

AP

The National Weather Service reports the tsunami generated by the 8.9 earthquake that hit Japan on Friday is now coming ashore on the Washington and Oregon coastline.

Meteorologist Johnny Berg says the tsunami advisory is still in effect and waves are coming in, but he says he doesn't have details to offer about how high those waves are.

An AP photographer reports vigorous wave activity on the coast near Moclips, on the central coast, similar to any stormy day on the ocean beaches.

Keichi Nakane / Yomiuri Shimbun

Updated 7:08 a.m., PST.  

The National Weather Service (NOAA) has issued a tsunami advisory for the Washington Coast following the massive 8.9 quake in northeast Japan.

Tsunami 'Advisory' Definition, from the National Weather Service:

  • Persons in a tsunami “Advisory” coastal area should move out of the water, off the beach and out of harbors and marinas.
  • Tsunami Advisories mean that a tsunami capable of producing strong currents or waves dangerous to people in or very near water is imminent or expected.
  • Significant widespread inundation is NOT expected for areas in an ‘advisory.'

 

Waves Expected Here After 7 a.m.; Some Evacuations on Coast

In Pacific and Grays Harbor counties, emergency management officials say "limited" evacuations are taking place. 

In Grays Harbor County, evacuations are taking place in the lowest-lying areas of Taholah, Pacific Beach, Moclips and Iron Springs (north of Copalis Beach), are people are being asked to move to higher ground.  A wave surge of up to 4 feet is projected for those areas shortly after 7 a.m. this morning, the highest level of wave expected to hit Washington state.

Pacific County has implemented its 'reverse 911' system, calling residents on the coast and in lowlying areas and asking them to evacuate calmly. He says an orderly evacuation is happening in Long Beach, Ilwaco and Ocean Park.

People are being asked to stay away from the beaches, harbors and coastal lowlands. Although the initial wave times are indicated, the highest wave may not impact the area for a few hours after that time.

In Oregon, tsunami sirens are blaring in coastal communities, the warning for residents to seek higher ground.  Traffic is heavy on the main transportation artery, Highway 101. In Seaside, at least one hotel has been evacuated. Waves in Oregon may be as high as 6 feet, and expected to arrive between 7 and 8 a.m.

Pablo Martinez Monsivais / AP Photo

 WASHINGTON (AP)     President Barack Obama has nominated Commerce Secretary Gary Locke to be the next U.S. ambassador to China. At a White House appearance Wednesday (Video), Obama credited Locke for expanding exports to China and said he has earned the trust of business leaders.

The post is one of the most important diplomatic jobs in government. If confirmed by the Senate, Locke would become the first Chinese-American to serve as the envoy to China.

The Washington Department of Social and Health Services is reviewing how a patient was able to escape from
Western State Hospital at Lakewood.

Jonathan D. Wilson remained in Pierce County Jail over the weekend, and Department of Corrections spokesman Chad Lewis says officials are deciding Monday where he should be transferred. 

The News Tribune's Stacia Glenn reports Wilson may be headed to Mason County.

A Pierce County sheriff's spokesman says a 29-year-old deputy has died less than 24 hours after undergoing
surgery for an injury he suffered in an on-duty assault last year.

Spokesman Ed Troyer called Shandon Wright's death Thursday night "a duty-related death" and said fellow officers were shocked.

Washington state added 11,000 jobs in January as the unemployment rate in state dropped from 9.3%  in December to 9.1% at the start of the year.

It's the strongest month of job growth in three years, and the largest since November 2007, the month before the national recession began. The gains came outside the agriculture sector.

WSDOT

Updated 9: 21 p.m.

Avalanche danger, heavy snowfall and spun-out vehicles have kept Interstate 90 over Snoqualmie Pass closed for hours as a winter storm buffets the Washington Cascades. Eastbound lanes reopened late this afternoon, and westbound lanes later Monday evening.

Transportation officials closed the pass late Monday morning due to eight inches of snow that had fallen since 6 a.m., plus poor visibility and spinouts.

Dan / gigharbor.patch.com

Updated 12:15 p.m. Sunday, February 27: Authorities report the leak has since been repaired, according to a statement from West Pierce Fire & Rescue Sunday as reported by Q13 FOX TV. Authorities confirmed that about 50 gallons of sodium hydroxide spilled. Amtrak passenger service between Seattle and Portland has been suspended because of the accident.

It's a day of celebration and pride at the Boeing plant in Everett, after the company won the $35 billion-dollar Air Force contract for a new aerial tanker fleet. 

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