LOS ANGELES -- Officials in American Samoa said at least 14 people were killed when a tsunami swept ashore in the South Pacific country after a powerful earthquake hit nearby.
Mase Akapo, a meteorologist for the National Weather Service, says the deaths occurred in four different villages on the main island of Tutuila, with six in the western area of Leone.
An unspecified number of people also were killed in neighboring Samoa.
The earthquake had a magnitude of up to 8.3 as it struck between Samoa and American Samoa around dawn Tuesday, sending terrified residents fleeing for higher ground.
Fili Sagapolutele, who works at the Samoa News, said water flowed inland about 100 yards before receding, leaving cars stuck in mud.
The Pacific Tsunami Warning Center issued a tsunami watch for the Hawaiian Islands, Honolulu television station KITV reported.
Scientists are evaluating whether the tsunami threat to Hawaii is significant. The earliest the state would see an impact would be 1:11 p.m., PTWC officials said.
The Pacific Tsunami Warning Center issued a tsunami warning for American Samoa, Samoa, Niue, Wallis-Futuna, Tokelau, Cook Islands, Tonga, Tuvalu, Kiribati, Kermadec Island, Fiji, Howland-Baker, Jarvis Island, New Zealand, French Polynesia and Palmyra Island.
A tsunami watch is in effect for Vanuatu, Nauru, Marshall Islands, Solomon Islands, Johnston Island, New Caledonia, Kosrae, Papua New Guinea, Hawaii, Pohnpei, Wake Island, Pitcairn and Midway Island.
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's West Coast and Alaska Tsunami Warning Center said it was a strong earthquake but no tsunami warning, watch or advisory is in effect.