8.2 Magnitude Earthquake of Mexico sparking tsunami warning for EIGHT countries

Heavily damaged buildings in Mexico City, Dec. 1, 1985. (AP Photo/David Tenenbaum)

A huge 8.2 magnitude earthquake has struck off the coast of southern Mexico causing widespread damage and warnings of a tsunami.

The massive tremor hit in the Pacific Ocean near the border of Mexico and Guatemala.

The shock was felt as far away as Mexico City and across Central America.

People said it lasted as long as 90 seconds and caused workers and hotel guests to flee buildings when it struck around midnight local time.

The quake hit around 70 miles from the west coast of Mexico, near Tres Picos in the state of Chiapas.

Widespread, hazardous tsunami waves are possible within the next three hours, the Pacific Tsunami Warning Centre said.

Countries at risk include Mexico, Guatemala, El Salvador, Costa Rica, Nicaragua, Panama, Honduras and Ecuador.

The Warning Center later said the tsunami waves are expected to be between 1 and 3 meters high.

Mexico’s civil protection agency said it was the strongest earthquake to hit the country since a devastating 1985 tremor that toppled buildings and killed thousands.

People in Mexico City ran out into the streets in pajamas and alarms sounded after the quake struck just before midnight.

Power went out in some neighborhoods.

A partially collapsed building in Chiapas, Mexico, after an earthquake struck (Image: @AlertaChiapas/Twitter)

“I had never been anywhere where the earth moved so much. At first, I laughed, but when the lights went out I didn’t know what to do. I nearly fell over,” said 31-year-old architect Luis Carlos Briceno.

Videos and pictures posted online showed people, cars, and lampposts shaking as the quake struck.

Initial reports of damage showed some buildings collapsed and windows smashed.