Tsunami in Japan, a Wake-up Call

Signs like these mark the evacuation to higher ground in Washington's coastal communities.

Washington doesn’t usually have extreme weather like tornadoes or hurricanes, but settles for a milder, more rainy climate instead. However, our coast was under a tsunami advisory after Japan’s 8.9 magnitude earthquake and resulting tsunami last week. We escaped without damage this time, but southern Oregon wasn’t so lucky. Brookings, Oregon, sustained several million dollars in damage.

We have “tsunami evacuation route” signs, in our coastal communities like Aberdeen, Hoquiam, Long Beach, Ilwaco and Ocean Shores, for a reason. They weren’t erected just to give a sign maker more business. The danger to us is real.

The Cascadia Subduction Zone, one of the largest active faults in North America, runs parallel to the Washington Coast – 32-70 miles offshore. Researchers say it will cause a giant earthquake and a tsunami. The question is when. No one knows the answer.                      

Sea Lions rest on a buoy in calm Puget Sound waters.

A tsunami can occur at anytime of the day or night and under any weather conditions. Being prepared can only help. Having an emergency kit handy, that you can grab if you have to evacuate, saves time and decreases some of your stress. For ideas on planning for an emergency and building a kit, visit:  http://www.govlink.org/3days3ways/

When warned that a tsunami is coming, please:

  • Head for higher ground
  • Don’t go to the beach to watch it come in
  • Save yourself – not your possessions


Congratulations to Mary Nida Smith who won a copy of the book “A Cowgirl Remembers When…”

2 thoughts on “Tsunami in Japan, a Wake-up Call

  1. Living Large in Our Little House

    It is a good reminder to let people know, especially travelers who are not used to such warnings, just how serious these warnings are. We were in LA once when a tremor hit and it made me wonder, as Midwesterners, not used to earthquakes, how we would have reacted had it been a big one. We’re used to tornado warnings, but not tsunami or earthquakes.

  2. Alexandra

    It’s strange how we get used to everything, even the potential for a direct hit by a tsunami. Here on Cape Cod, we have no earthquakes, only hurricanes. There are signs on Route 6 for evacuation that always make me laugh. If there were a major hurricane like Katrina, it would be better to stay put than try to escape in summer. Too many cars!


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