Saturday, June 25, 2005


A short article by Heidi Walters in the North Coast Journal reveals some disturbing information about earthquake response, indicating that many of the most endangered residents of low-lying coastal areas are not adequately informed and prepared.

Apparently, instead of quickly heeding the National Weather Service tsunami warning after the 7.2 quake, too many residents called 911 for verification, not only clogging the lines for emergency calls, but had there really been a tsunami, endangering their own lives.

The facts outlined elsewhere on this site should be better known: that anyone living in low-lying coastal areas or who happens to be on the beach when they feel strong shaking, should immediately head for higher ground. Then you can safely inquire as to what the danger might be.

An earthquake offshore in the subduction zone may cause tsunami, and if it does, the water will reach the North Coast rapidly. In a really strong quake, the first wave could hit before the shaking stops. And the first wave may not be the biggest.


Fred said...

Good points. One tip, that seems to be underemphasized in the media though, is receeding water.

If the water level goes down real fast, get out of the area. I've seen references to this at least three times in real life:

I was watching a documentary on the tsunami in Hilo, Hawaii. One survivor said he/ she was at school. The ocean suddenly receeded, leaving fish flopping around in tide pools and the beach. The teacher sees the fish and tells the kids to go down and pick up the fish. The water came back up with a vengeance and none that went to get the fish survived.

I retired EPD officer told me he was down on the waterfront when the tsunami hit Crescent City. He said he never saw the water level drop so fast before. Fortunately, the wave didn't reach Eureka.

Did you read about that one tribe in the last big tsunami? They all went to high ground when they saw the water drop real fast. Someone there said that it was common knowledge among their people, gained thru the ages, that if the water goes down real fast, head to high ground.

I believe some of the survivors of that one that ended up in the tsunami, fighting for their lives, said the water went down real fast right before the wave(s) hit. For some reason that's never emphasised in any earthquake survival tips the media throws out every now and then. You don't need a radio or tv to take advantage of that tip.

BK said...

Also a good point. Lori Dengler of HSU does bring this up in her talks on the subject, along with the warning that the first wave may not be the biggest one. Thanks for adding this caution here.