**Update** Weater Wars: Massive 8.8 Earthquake, Aftershocks Rattle Chile; Tsunami Warning Issued
(CNN) — A massive magnitude 8.8 earthquake struck central Chile early Saturday, producing powerful aftershocks and triggering a tsunami.
At least 16 people were killed, according to Chilean President Michelle Bachelet, with the death toll expected to rise.
The epicenter of the earthquake was located off the coast in Maule, near the city of Concepcion, 212 miles (341 kilometers) from the capital of Santiago. The quake struck at 3:34 a.m. (1:34 a.m. ET).
Concepcion is Chile’s second largest city with a population of 200,000. There are reports of collapsed buildings in Santiago. The quake was felt in several Chilean towns and in parts of Argentina as well. Some buildings in Buenos Aires were evacuated.
“This is a major event. This happened near some very populated areas,” said Randy Baldwin, a geophysicist with USGS. “With an 8.8 you expect damage to the population in the area.”
Numerous aftershocks, including one that measured 6.9 magnitude, were felt within hours of the initial quake, USGS said.
The Pacific Tsunami Warning Center issued a tsunami warning, the highest level of a tsunami alert, for the entire coast of Chile and Peru. A tsunami watch was in effect for Ecuador, Colombia, Antarctica, Panama and Costa Rica. Hawaii was placed under a tsunami advisory.
“An earthquake of this size has the potential to generate a destructive tsunami that can strike coastlines near the epicenter within minutes and more distant coastlines within hours,” the National Weather Service said in a statement.
USGS geophysicist Vicro Sardina said several tsunami waves had made landfall along the Chilean coast; the largest was recorded at 9 feet and came ashore near the quake’s epicenter. The earliest estimated arrival for a wave that could affect Hawaii was 11:19 a.m. local time (5:19 p.m. ET).
The capital lost electricity and basic services including water and telephones. Officials hoped to learn more about the devastation in the morning.
Santiago resident Leo Perioto jumped out of his bed in his apartment at the top of a six-story building.
“The whole building was shaking,” he said. “The windows were wobbling a lot. We could feel the walls moving from side to side.”
Alessandro Perez, who is staying at the Santiago Marriott Hotel, reported shattered windows, but there was no structural damage. No one at the hotel was injured, he said.
Anita Herrera, who works at the Hotel Kennedy in Santiago, said electricity was knocked out at that hotel and guests were nervous.
“Our hotel is built for this,” she said. “In Chile, this happens many times.”
Chile holds the record for the largest earthquake in the world, according to the USGS. A magnitude 9.5 quake struck the South American country in May 1960 and killed 1,655 people.