A powerful 7.4 magnitude earthquake struck Taiwan early Wednesday morning, causing widespread damage, power outages, and disruptions to transportation networks across the island nation. The quake, which occurred at 7:58 a.m. local time, was strong enough to collapse buildings in the southern city of Hualien and shake structures off their foundations in the capital, Taipei.

The earthquake's epicenter was located on the eastern side of the island, approximately 35 kilometers (21 miles) deep, according to the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS). Taiwan's earthquake monitoring agency, however, reported the magnitude as 7.4. The discrepancy in the reported magnitude is not uncommon, as different agencies often use varying methods to calculate the strength of seismic events.

In the wake of the quake, Japan issued an evacuation advisory for coastal areas near Okinawa after the earthquake triggered a tsunami warning. The Japan Meteorological Agency (JMA) forecast a tsunami of up to 3 meters (9.8 feet) for the southern Japanese island group. A wave of 30 centimeters (about 1 foot) was detected on the coast of Yonaguni island roughly 15 minutes after the quake struck, and the JMA stated that waves likely also hit the coasts of Miyako and Yaeyama islands.

The tsunami warnings extended beyond Japan, with the U.S. National Tsunami Warning Center announcing that it is "analyzing the event to determine the level of danger" for the coastal regions of Alaska, Washington, Oregon, California, and British Columbia. The center's decision to assess the potential risk highlights the far-reaching impact of the powerful earthquake and the need for vigilance in the aftermath of such events.

In Taiwan, the quake caused significant disruptions to daily life and infrastructure. Several parts of Taipei experienced power outages, while islandwide train service and subway service in the capital were suspended. Television footage showed the extent of the damage, with buildings in Hualien shaken off their foundations, underscoring the severity of the seismic event.