Early today, an 8.9-magnitude earthquake hit the coast of northern Japan, spawning aftershocks and a tsunami that swept across the region.
There are a number of outstanding online resources that are delivering solid information, up-to-date data, and forecasts on how the world will be affected.
Tracking the tsunami
CNN Live Blog: CNN is tracking all the events surrounding the earthquake and tsunami with a live blog. It's currently providing up-to-date information on all the news coming out of Japan as the country tries to address the impact of the natural disaster.
Reuters Live Coverage: Reuters is providing a live, minute-by-minute resource for people to get all the latest news on the Japan earthquake. It's tracking events in Japan, as well as those elsewhere around the Pacific as the tsunami continues to travel toward shore.
BBC Live Blog: The BBC is also offering a live blog to give people the latest information on the tsunami. In addition, the publication is offering a "wave map" for people to track its progress.
Japan Meteorological Agency: Those with loved ones in Japan will want to go to the Japan Meteorological Agency Web site. It has up-to-date information on warnings, forecasts, and other key information on current conditions around the country.
NOAA Pacific Tsunami Warning Center: The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's Pacific Tsunami Warning Page is being updated often with information on the latest warnings and information on where the tsunami is headed.
Hawaii Red Cross Twitter Page: The Hawaii Red Cross is using its Twitter page to detail information on the impact the tsunami is having on the state. It's also linking to local news stations that have live feeds covering the impact around Hawaii.
Map Visage Google Map: A Google Map has been created to provide a visual depiction of where the tsunami is headed. Each marker on the map provides the estimated arrival time for the tsunami, based on NOAA estimates.
U.S. Geological Survey: The U.S. Geological Survey is providing constant updates on earthquakes and aftershocks erupting in the Pacific. It's providing exact locations for the earthquakes, a map for users to see where they are, and more.
Twitter: As with previous natural disasters, Twitter is becoming a top resource for people to find out what's going on around the world. The tsunami hash tag is proving to be one of the best ways to cull information about the event.
The Weather Channel: As one might expect, The Weather Channel is all over the tsunami coverage, providing information on when it might hit the United States, maps showing arrival times, and the latest news surrounding the earthquakes.
Finding (and helping) family and friends
Google Person Finder: Google has launched its Person Finder for the Japan Earthquake. People can input information about someone or search the service to see if any information is available about someone who might have been impacted by the tsunami. The resource currently has 7,200 records, but it's growing quite rapidly.
NTT Docomo Safety Response: One of Japan's mobile-phone providers is allowing people to input a loved one's mobile phone number into a search to confirm the safety of that person. Think of it as a "message board" of sorts.
KDDI Disaster Message Board: Similar to NTT Docomo's service, the KDDI Disaster Message Board lets people place messages on its service to find out about a loved one's condition. That person's safety can then be confirmed via mobile phone or on a PC.
Softbank Message Board: Softbank's Message Board mimics KDDI's service, allowing people to post a message to loved ones, which can then be viewed on the person's mobile phone. They can respond from that device to confirm they're safe.
Japan Shelter Map: A Google Map has been created, listing lodging places for people who have been affected by the tsunami to stay the night.
Hawaii State Civil Defense: Hawaii's State Civil Defense released a list of evacuation centers and refuge sites for citizens. In addition, the page features other information that might be of use to those trying to find loved ones.
Red Cross Shelters: The American Red Cross has a Google Maps application on its Web site, allowing users to find its shelters around the U.S. According to its Twitter page, evacuation shelters are currently open in Washington, Oregon, and California. This map will help folks find those locations.
American Red Cross Donation Page: The American Red Cross has launched a donation page for victims of the tsunami and earthquakes. The Web page lets users donate as much as they'd like from the secure form.
Google Crisis Response: Google is providing an outstanding resource on its Crisis Response page, listing organizations tracking the earthquakes and tsunami, as well as maps and the latest news surrounding the horrific event.
Red Cross Tsunami Checklist: The Red Cross Tsunami Checklist has been updated to provide information on preparedness and tips on what to do after a tsunami has hit.
Prime Minster of Japan and Cabinet Page: This page delivers several outstanding links and informational guides on the country's response to the tsunami and earthquake.
Red Cross Twitter Page: The Red Cross' Twitter account is providing resources for people to learn more about the tsunami and earthquakes. It also lists a number that people can call to find information about loved ones who might have been affected by the event.
Red Cross Newsroom: The American Red Cross' Newsroom page is providing updated information on the tsunami. It also has basic data about the earthquakes.
NOAA Environmental Visualization Laboratory: NOAA has offered up several visual depictions of the tsunami and its impact around the Pacific. It includes a wave-height model, a view of the Pacific Ocean floor, and much more.
NOAA Center for Tsunami Research: NOAA has also added an event page to its site for the impact the Honshu tsunami had. The page includes a graphical display forecast, hazard assessments, and research services for those that want to learn more about the event.
NOAA Tsunami Informational Page" Those looking to learn more about tsunamis, including how they originate, the history of tsunamis around the world, and how people can prepare for them, can check out the NOAA Tsunami Informational Page. It's a fine resource for all-things tsunami.
NOAA Tsunami Fact Sheet (PDF): Aside from an online resources, NOAA also has a PDF document offering insight into tsunamis and the impact they've had around the world. It also discusses the tsunami warning system, Deep-ocean Assessment and Reporting of Tsunamis stations, and much more.
Updated at 12:01 p.m. PT to include more resources.