At least 2 dead after an earthquake off the coast of Mexico - Erie News Now | WICU & WSEE in Erie, PA

Mexico quake triggers tsunami warning: Live updates

08 SEP 17 03:16 ET

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At least 2 dead after an earthquake off the coast of Mexico

Posted: Updated:
(CNN) -

An 8.1-magnitude earthquake struck off the coast of southern Mexico early Friday morning, killing at least two people and triggering a tsunami.

The quake, which was felt as far as Mexico City and Guatemala City, struck 74 miles (120 kilometers) off the Pacific Coast at 12:49 a.m. ET Friday. The epicenter was southwest of Tres Picos, Mexico, which is 600 miles (1,000 kilometers) southeast of Mexico City.

A tsunami has been confirmed in Mexico, with one wave coming in at 2.3 feet (0.7 meters), according to a tweet from the National Weather Service's Pacific Tsunami Warning Center's verified account.

It was close to both the Mexican states of Chiapas, which borders Guatemala, and Oaxaca in the Middle America trench -- a "prime location" for earthquakes, according to CNN meteorologist Karen Maginnis.

The USGS has reported multiple aftershocks, including four with tremors measuring above 5.0 in magnitude.

The main quake had a depth of 69.7 kilometers (43 miles), according to the US Geological Survey (USGS). It was a particularly shallow quake, according to Jana Pursely, a geophysicist at the USGS.

"The shaking along the coast of Chiapas at this point is estimated to be very strong to severe," Pursely told CNN. "I would expect damage along the coast of Chiapas."

Pursely said these types of shallow earthquakes have the potential to be very dangerous.

Chiapas Gov. Manuel Velasco told Foro TV that there have been reports of damage, including hospitals that have lost power and buildings with collapsed roofs. He said that he will cancel school on Friday.

Mexico City shakes

Jay David was just falling asleep at the Hyatt hotel in Mexico City when he felt his room shake.

"The whole hotel was shaking for close to a minute. Loud creaking sounds as the hotel swayed from side to side," he told CNN.

Videos on social media showed significant tremors in various parts of the country as well as major damage to buildings and infrastructure, including traffic lights shaking.

One video showed Mexico City's famous Angel of Independence statue shaking.

Paulaina Gomez-Wulschner said she heard an earthquake alarm go off on the radio as she was driving in Mexico City.

"This was a very, very strong earthquake, one of the strongest I've felt, and I was here in 1985 when that earthquake collapsed Mexico City," she told CNN.

When it struck, she parked her car and joined others stood in the middle of the street to avoid falling objects.

"It was very scary," she said.

Gomez-Wulschner said she could hear sirens, ambulances and helicopters in the aftermath, but did not see any immediate damage near her.

On his verified twitter account, Mexico's President Enrique Pena Nieto tweeted, "Civil protection protocols are activated, including the National Emergency Committee."

A tsunami threat is being evaluated by the Tsunami Warning System. The Tsunami Warning Center advised the public that tsunami waves could hit within three hours off the coasts of Mexico, Guatemala, Panama, El Salvador, Costa Rica, Nicaragua, Honduras and even Ecuador.

CNN attempted to contact two seaside hotels in the Mexican state of Chiapas but the lines appeared to be down.

A receptionist at the Intercontinental in Mexico City said he only felt light shaking, however parts of the city are without power, Mayor Miguel Angel Mancera said in an interview on Foro TV.

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