• The Japanese government has declared an emergency and begun to evacuate people who live within 3 km of a nuclear power plant in Fukushima prefecture. There are six reactors at the plant, three of which were operational at the time of the earthquake (the rest had been shut down for scheduled maintenance). One of the three operating reactors seems to have been damaged, along with its diesel-powered backup cooling system. Right now, there is no radiation leak and a full-scale core meltdown is not imminent—just a worst-case scenario. Work is in motion to get the cooling system back online, and protect the reactor's nuclear fuel rods in the meantime.
• Police have found several hundred bodies in the coastal Japanese city of Sendai. Al Jazeera has news and some video.
• Tsunami waves could be up to 6 feet in California. Judging from those predictions, and from what I'm hearing from friends in Hawaii, this is a "get away from the beach" situation, but probably not an "everybody flee to the hills" situation". La Jolla has a surf cam, if you're interested. Although, from the couple of minutes I've spent with it, it seems difficult to see much of anything. (Thanks MrGunn!)
More to come ...
Maggie Koerth-Baker is the science editor at BoingBoing.net. She writes a monthly column for The New York Times Magazine and is the author of Before the Lights Go Out, a book about electricity, infrastructure, and the future of energy. You can find Maggie on Twitter and Facebook.