The Tillamook County town of Manzanita has changed how most people would expect to be alerted that a tsunami may be on the way. Manzanita has dropped tsunami warning sirens in favor of loudspeakers atop those tsunami poles, loudspeakers from low flying airplanes and social media like Facebook and Email to alert people that a tsunami is probably heading their way.
Manzanita officials figure that tsunami sirens are tested so often that most people would just ignore them if the tsunami was coming from far away. They say if the tsunami is generated by Oregon’s notorious Cascadia Subduction Zone just offshore, five minutes of continuous shaking would convince everyone to head for higher ground immediately regardless of hearing sirens. So…Manzanita has changed its game plan. The story is from Lori Tobias of the Oregonian. Click here.
Click on letter from Mayor of Misawa Japan
Click on photos to enlarge
Lincoln County Commissioner Terry Thompson shared with his fellow commissioners and the public Wednesday a letter, plans and photographs of the Japanese docks that showed where they were moored prior to last year’s devastating earthquake and ensuing tsunami. The letter is from the Mayor of Misawa Japan who explained the role of the docks and the importance they posed to the community. He also expressed gratitude to American armed forces who mobilized immediately following the quake and tsunami to help the Japanese people begin to recover from the worst natural disaster to strike that country in recorded history.
Japanese Tsunami debris is becoming more and more common along Oregon’s 300 miles of beaches from Astoria to Brookings. The above picture was taken this weekend at South Beach, just south of Newport. State Parks and Recreation reminds everyone to report large, unusual forms of debris by dialing 2-1-1, or on line at firstname.lastname@example.org. Any standard beach debris should be put in a trash can. Anything that appears to be something like a family heirloom or picture with the family’s name on it should be reported to 2-1-1.
Okay, okay…nobody likes to talk about it but school district Safety Coordinator Sue Graves told the Lincoln County Commission this week that sooner or later the Oregon Coast is going to get hit with a one-two punch. Punch One: An 8 to 9 Richter (or higher) earthquake as the North Pacific plate slides under the North American plate. Damage will be substantial. But a similar earthquake last year in Japan was survivable. Just ask the millions who did survive. What many didn’t survive was Punch Two: A Tsunami, that may range in size from 35 feet or higher. The one in Japan was estimated from 21 feet to 125 feet, depending on the topography. And Graves says the Northwest is currently in an interval of time when a Cascadia earthquake could happen. Geologists say it’s a 10 to 15% chance every year.
Graves said rather than dreading a catastophe, we ought to be planning for it so we can ensure the survival of as many people as possible, starting with our school children. In Taft, to be exact where much of the area is in a tsunami zone. Graves says we learned a lot from the Japan earthquake last year in that it was plain that people who did manage to survive the shaking and tsunami were isolated for a while. Many pitched tents and built fires that people gathered around. There were runs on food stores. Water was no longer available in many areas.
Graves says should the “big one” hit the northwest during a school day, students will be channeled up hill to a predetermined gathering area. There, they will find shelter provided by 52 portable garage-like canopy enclosures. There will be twenty-four 55 gallon barrels of drinking water, 1,300 bottles of bottled water, 1,300 water purifying drinking straws, and 1,300 sets of high calorie survival food bars.
In addition, Graves told the commissioners, that there will be 1,300 rain ponchos and 1,300 mylar blankets. And the steel storage container it was all stored in will ensure it all stayed safe and ready to use if and when that fateful day comes.
Total cost for 1,300 students, teachers and support staff to protect the children, $33,292. Graves was asking the county commissioners to chip in like other entities she’s approached. The commissioners gave her $2,500. She says she’s gotten commitments from Lincoln City, the Bay Area Merchants Association (Taft), and other entities which also includes State Farm Insurance which she says is very interested in her project.
Graves emphasized that surviving means lasting long enough for help to arrive on the coast. She predicted it could take weeks for help to arrive due to buckled roads and destroyed bridges. She said although help would eventually arrive, the Willamette Valley too would have beeen hit almost as hard as the coast. And that could cause even further delays.
Again, having enough food and water along with minimum sheltering for people for what may be a prolonged period, will be critical. Graves said every community in Lincoln County should be planning ahead and stockpiling what is believed to be sufficient emergency supplies, stored in higher elevation areas that survivors can get to on foot. Investing in these supplies and contingencies is no different, she says, than investing in other aspects of public safety and health.
Anyone who knows Sue Graves also knows that her campaign for donations is throwing down the gauntlet to the rest of the county and all of its communities to chip in and create their own survival kits for all who will desperately need them when the big one comes. And come it will. We just don’t know when. But, she says, we can be prepared when it does.
There you have it. Sue Graves has opened the door to a rational approach to do something about what we can’t change, but which could ensure the survival of most everyone who lives through the Big One.
An old rusty Japanese fishing vessel, that was destined for the scrap yard when the big earthquake and tsunami hit Japan last year, has been drifting slowly across the north Pacific only to be met with cannon fire from a U.S. Coast Guard cutter. The Coast Guard says the empty hulk had become a hazard to navigation and could damage something when and if it ever came ashore somewhere along Alaska’s coast. So the Coast Guard filled it full of holes and sent the 164 foot Ryou-Un-Maru to the bottom. Further details from the Oregonian. Click here.
Depoe Bay City Councilors Tuesday night learned from Public Works Superintendent Terry Owings that five, very loud and brand new, tsunami warning sirens will be installed along Highway 101 from near Whale Cove Inn on the south to Thundering Shores to the north. They will also have the capability of acting like a bullhorn for public announcements as to the status of the ocean and any tsunami wave activity. Owings says they’re working out the placement of the tall power poles and getting power to them, along with communications capabilities for voice messaging to the public. He said it’s requiring tight scheduling with Central Lincoln People’s Utility District, the manufacturer and the installer, GB Manchester Corporation. Owings says the tsunami warning system should be up, tested and ready to go in the event of a tsunami by mid-Summer.