Magnitude 7.4 earthquake rattles several Central American countries

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A magnitude 7.4 earthquake off the Pacific coast of El Salvador late Monday disrupted power to several communities and claimed the life of one man who had been sleeping on a street.

The quake was part of a series of strong temblors that rattled much of Central America. The strongest quake was centered in the Pacific Ocean about 105 miles southeast of San Salvador and occurred at 9:51 p.m. local time, according to the U.S. Geological Survey.  It had a depth of 43.8 miles.

The quakes shook the southern coast and interior of the region from Guatemala to Costa Rica, according local reports. Power outages were reported in El Salvador, and Nicaragua put out an internal alert announcing that schools would be closed on Tuesday.

Jorge Melendez, director of Civil Protection for El Salvador, said a homeless man was killed when he was hit by a power pole in San Miguel, a city 84 miles east of the capital.

The quake caused minor damage to the national hospital in San Miguel, as well as landslides on highways in the coastal state of Usulutan.

Lina Pohl, minister of the environment and national resources, issued a tsunami warning for residents along the coast, but Melendez said all appeared normal and that "it looks like the most dangerous situation has passed."

Pohl warned that residents should be prepared for aftershocks that could provoke landslides in areas soaked by several days of rain.

Officials in Costa Rica said the quakes were "strong and of long duration" there, but the country's Red Cross had no reports of major damage.

In Nicaragua, there were no signs of damage, according to government spokeswoman Rosario Murillo.