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Costa Rica Tsunami Warning: Alert Issued After Strong Quake

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COSTA RICA TSUNAMI WARNING
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SAN JOSE, Costa Rica, Sept 5 (Reuters) - A powerful 7.6-magnitude earthquake rocked Costa Rica on Wednesday, rattling buildings and cutting power in some areas of the capital.

Residents of San Jose said phones went down, electricity poles rattled and water flowed out of pools during the quake.

"It was terrible. I was on the third floor, I had never felt anything like it," said Stephanie Gonzalez, a 25-year-old masters student.

The quake's epicenter was in western Costa Rica about 87 miles (140 km) from San Jose, the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) said, and it was felt as far away as Managua, the capital of neighboring Nicaragua.

"It was very strong, everyone is getting out because of the tsunami alert," said a worker at the Samara Tree House Inn on Costa Rica's Pacific coast.

The Pacific Tsunami Warning Center issued a warning for Pacific coastlines of Costa Rica, Nicaragua and Panama. It had earlier warned of tsunamis for as far away as Mexico and Chile.

It was the biggest earthquake in Costa Rica since a 7.6 quake in 1991 left 47 dead. More recently, 40 died in a 6.1 magnitude quake in January 2009.

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