Then came a devastating tsunami that slammed into northeastern Japan and killed hundreds of people.
The 8.9 magnitude offshore earthquake struck at 2:46 PM local time and is the biggest to hit Japan since record-keeping began in the late 1800s.
It ranks as the fifth-largest earthquake in the world since 1900.
The images on television and the Internet are devastating and heartbreaking and show the very worst side of Mother Nature.
Today, my thoughts go out to everyone affected by this terrible disaster.