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State Dept. of Geology officially delivers new tsunami inundation zone maps

Tsunami Maps debuted Lincoln County Courthouse

Tsunami Maps debuted
Lincoln County Courthouse

Peter Ovington DOGAMI

Peter Ovington
DOGAMI

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The long awaited updated tsunami inundation zone maps for the Oregon Coast were debuted Wednesday at the Lincoln County Courthouse, with a message that all old inundation maps should be discarded/recycled.

Oregon Department of Geology’s Peter Ovington said the new maps reflect a major change as to the estimated height of tsunami flood waters should the Cascadia Subduction Zone trigger an earthquake off the coast.

After visiting Japan following their big earthquake and tsunami that occurred in March of 2011, state geologists changed the estimated water height for a similar earthquake along the Oregon Coast from an earlier estimate of 50 feet to 70 to 80 feet. That means considerably more real estate would be covered by an incoming tsunami.

The maps show evacuation routes to higher ground from all inundation zones. The new maps will be available later this month up and down the coast of Lincoln County at local fire departments and city halls as well as the Lincoln County Courthouse in Newport. They are also online at www.OregonTsunami.org

One thing that state geologists and emergency management officials wanted to emphacize is that because no one knows when the “big one” will hit, we should all be ready for it, day or NIGHT. That’s right, NIGHT. They say everyone in the family should have a pair of shoes, a jacket and a HEADLIGHT HELMET, or a helmet with a light strapped it, located near your bed so when the shaking is done you can put them on. You’ll want to have both hands free while navigating your exit and your way toward an evacuation area or some other secure location. There will be no street lights to help orient you. If it’s cloudy without a moon, it’s likely to be pitch black outside. Even with the moon behind the clouds it’ll be rough going.

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They say there will also be areas affected by what’s caused liquefaction. Geologist George Priest said the Japanese saw a lot of liquefaction where the shaking allowed groundwater up through the surface, turning it into a slippery and treacherous mush. Priest also said what looks like big mud puddles can be bottomless pits as the ground creates a big sink hole and allows groundwater to break through the surface. So, get a headlight helmet, or light head strap for each member of the family and make sure their batteries are always fresh.

Ovington reminds everyone to have an emergency kit at the ready and at least a two week supply of non-perishable food. Remember, there won’t be any electricity for an extended period so don’t rely on food that needs to be refrigerated or frozen.

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