President Barack Obama warned U.S. citizens in the West Coast to prepare for the possible tsunami that is forecasted to hit Hawaii at 1.19 pm PST.

A tsunami warning, which is the highest alert level, follows a massive 8.8 magnitude earthquake off Chile which sent waves across the Pacific Ocean.

Speaking at the White House, Obama said the U.S. is preparing for a tsunami that could reach American shores and wants people in Hawaii, American Samoa and Guam to follow the instructions of their local civil defense team.

The president urged West Coast residents to be prepare themselves for the possibility of dangerous waves and currents.

Prior to Obama's warning, he had a conference call with Cabinet officials and White House staff.

The Civil Defense in Hawaii has also urged all residents to prepare and are advised to visit www.scd.hawaii.gov for a map which shows which areas are being evacuated.

The civil agency advised residents to have an emergency plan to locate family members if they become separated, and to prepare an emergency supply kit.

The kit should include food and water for at least three days, along with clothes and bedding to keep warm. Food should be high energy non-perishables and kept in sealed air-tight containers.

The president says the U.S. is ready Chile with rescue and recovery efforts.

He says the U.S. has resources that are in position to deploy should the Chilean government ask for U.S. assistance.

Obama spoke at the White House on Saturday afternoon after a conference call with Cabinet officials and White House staff.