Strong earthquake in Caribbean Sea shakes Honduras, Mexico and Belize, no tsunami

TEGUCIGALPA, Jan 9 (Reuters) - An earthquake of magnitude 7.6 that struck near remote islands belonging to Honduras on Tuesday was felt across northern Central America but there were no immediate reports of casualties or major damage.

The quake rattled windows in the Honduran capital of Tegucigalpa roughly 323 miles (519 km) to the east and was felt at least as far north as the Mexican state of Quintana Roo, but no damage was immediately reported.

Rodrigo Anaya Rodriguez was in a hammock inside his house near the popular tourist site of Bacalar Lake near Mexico's Caribbean coast when he felt three tremors.

"It felt like a bulldozer was driving past," he said. "It didn't last long but was very violent."

He ran to his balcony and saw electricity posts and cables swaying.

In Honduras, firefighters said some residents in southern neighborhoods fled their homes after feeling the shaking.

The country operates a small naval base on Great Swan Island, about 27 miles (44 km) west of the quake's epicenter, but it was not immediately clear how the tremors affected the station.

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Devastating aftermath of deadly Mexico earthquake
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Devastating aftermath of deadly Mexico earthquake
A woman reacts outside a collapsed building after an earthquake in Mexico City, Mexico September 19, 2017. REUTERS/Henry Romero
People remove debris outside a collapsed building after an earthquake in Mexico City, Mexico September 19, 2017. REUTERS/Henry Romero
TOPSHOT - Rescuers, firefighters, policemen, soldiers and volunteers remove rubble and debris from a flattened building in search of survivors after a powerful quake in Mexico City on September 19, 2017. A devastating quake in Mexico on Tuesday killed more than 100 people, according to official tallies, with a preliminary 30 deaths recorded in the capital where rescue efforts were still going on. / AFP PHOTO / RONALDO SCHEMIDT (Photo credit should read RONALDO SCHEMIDT/AFP/Getty Images)
Debris are pictured at the site of a collapsed building after an earthquake in Mexico City, Mexico September 20, 2017. REUTERS/Henry Romero
People carry debris outside a collapsed building after an earthquake in Mexico City, Mexico September 19, 2017. REUTERS/Henry Romero
Rescue workers remove a dead body after searching through rubble in a floodlit search for students at Enrique Rebsamen school in Mexico City, Mexico September 20, 2017. REUTERS/Carlos Jasso
A volunteer searches for survivors in Mexico City on September 20, 2017 after a strong quake hit central Mexico on the eve. A powerful 7.1 earthquake shook Mexico City on Tuesday, causing panic among the megalopolis' 20 million inhabitants on the 32nd anniversary of a devastating 1985 quake. / AFP PHOTO / Yuri CORTEZ (Photo credit should read YURI CORTEZ/AFP/Getty Images)
Onlookers stand across from a collapsed building after an earthquake hit Mexico City, Mexico September 19, 2017. Picture taken September 19, 2017. REUTERS/Ginnette Riquelme
People react after an earthquake hit Mexico City, Mexico September 19, 2017. REUTERS/Carlos Jasso
ATTENTION EDITORS - VISUAL COVERAGE OF SCENES OF INJURY OR DEATH A injured woman reacts after an earthquake hit Mexico City, Mexico September 19, 2017. REUTERS/Carlos Jasso
A rescue dog searches for people among the rubble of a collapsed building after an earthquake hit Mexico City, Mexico September 19, 2017. REUTERS/Claudia Daut
A man reacts near a damaged building after an earthquake hit Mexico City, Mexico September 19, 2017. REUTERS/Carlos Jasso
A woman reacts after an earthquake hit Mexico City, Mexico September 19, 2017. REUTERS/Carlos Jasso
People rescue a man after an earthquake hit Mexico City, Mexico September 19, 2017. REUTERS/Carlos Jasso
An injured woman is being helped after an earthquake hit Mexico City, Mexico September 19, 2017. REUTERS/Carlos Jasso
People are seen next to a damaged car after an earthquake in Mexico City, Mexico September 19, 2017. REUTERS/Claudia Daut
Damages are seen after an earthquake hit in Mexico City, Mexico September 19, 2017. REUTERS/Carlos Jasso
Rescuers, firefighters, policemen, soldiers and volunteers search for survivors in Mexico City on September 20, 2017 after a strong quake hit central Mexico on the eve. A powerful 7.1 earthquake shook Mexico City on Tuesday, causing panic among the megalopolis' 20 million inhabitants on the 32nd anniversary of a devastating 1985 quake. / AFP PHOTO / Yuri CORTEZ (Photo credit should read YURI CORTEZ/AFP/Getty Images)
Soldiers rest as the search for survivors continues in Mexico City on September 20, 2017 after a strong quake hit central Mexico on the eve. A powerful 7.1 earthquake shook Mexico City on Tuesday, causing panic among the megalopolis' 20 million inhabitants on the 32nd anniversary of a devastating 1985 quake. / AFP PHOTO / Pedro PARDO (Photo credit should read PEDRO PARDO/AFP/Getty Images)
Supplies are gathered as the search for survivors countinues in Mexico City on September 20, 2017 after a strong quake hit central Mexico on the eve. A powerful 7.1 earthquake shook Mexico City on Tuesday, causing panic among the megalopolis' 20 million inhabitants on the 32nd anniversary of a devastating 1985 quake. / AFP PHOTO / Pedro PARDO (Photo credit should read PEDRO PARDO/AFP/Getty Images)
People react after an earthquake hit Mexico City, Mexico September 19, 2017. REUTERS/Claudia Daut
MEXICO CITY, MEXICO - SEPTEMBER 19: A man watches a building knocked down by a magnitude 7.1 earthquake that jolted central Mexico damaging buildings, knocking out power and causing alarm throughout the capital on September 19, 2017 in Mexico City, Mexico. The earthquake comes 32 years after a magnitude-8.0 earthquake hit on September 19, 1985. (Photo by Christian Palma/Getty Images)
A woman prepares coffee in a square after a powerful quake hit Mexico City, late on September 19, 2017. The death toll from a powerful earthquake that rocked Mexico on September 19 has surged to 248 people, the head of the national disaster response agency, Luis Felipe Puente, said on Twitter. / AFP PHOTO / RONALDO SCHEMIDT (Photo credit should read RONALDO SCHEMIDT/AFP/Getty Images)
MEXICO CITY, MEXICO - SEPTEMBER 19: People watch a building knocked down in Viaducto avenue by a magnitude 7.1 earthquake that jolted central Mexico damaging buildings, knocking out power and causing alarm throughout the capital on September 19, 2017 in Mexico City, Mexico. The earthquake comes 32 years after a magnitude-8.0 earthquake hit on September 19, 1985. (Photo by Christian Palma/Getty Images)
MEXICO CITY, MEXICO - SEPTEMBER 19: A man cries after the magnitude 7.1 earthquake that jolted central Mexico damaging buildings, knocking out power and causing alarm throughout the capital on September 19, 2017 in Mexico City, Mexico. The earthquake comes 32 years after a magnitude-8.0 earthquake hit on September 19, 1985. (Photo by Hector Vivas/Getty Images)
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"We have reports that it was felt in the majority of the country, but we don't have reports of damage," said Lizandro Rosales, director of Honduras' contingencies commission.

The U.S. Geological Survey said the quake, initially reported as a magnitude 7.8, was centered 125 miles (202 km)northeast of Barra Patuca in Honduras and 191 miles (307 km)southwest of George Town in the Cayman Islands.

The quake was very shallow, at only 6.2 miles (10 km), which would have amplified its effect.

The Pacific Tsunami Warning Center initially warned that tsunami waves up to 1 meter (3 feet) above tide level could hit parts of Honduras, Belize and Puerto Rico along with the U.S. and British Virgin Islands.

About two hours after the quake, the center said the threat had passed, withdrawing all tsunami advisories connected with the quake.

The tremors were felt in Belize's capital, Belize City, but there were no immediate reports of damage.

Belize's minister in charge of emergency management, Edmond Castro, spoke on local radio to urge people living in low lying coastal areas and islands to stay alert for potentially dangerous waves. (Additional reporting by Sandra Maler in Washington; Daina Beth Solomon, Adriana Barrera and Frank Jack Daniel in Mexico City; Jose Sanchez in Belize City; Editing by Lisa Shumaker and Simon Cameron-Moore)

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