Friday, March 25, 2016

Early Earthquake/Tsunami Warning

I'll admit to having always been skeptical of proposals for early earthquake warnings as H.S.U. earthquake gal. Lori Dengler, explains in today's Times- Standard, At least she explains how such warnings might be helpful:

"What can you do in ten seconds to reduce earthquake impacts? It turns out quite a bit. Surgeons can stop a delicate operation, traffic onto bridges controlled, elevators brought to a floor, power stations set to a safety configuration and trains automatically slowed."

I'm still a bit skeptical. I suspect most of us would stand there wondering what the alarm was, or whether it was a false one. That would negate the advantage of a few seconds warning.

Then there's tsunami warnings, the nuts and bolts of which we already have in place. But even with those warnings people end up drowning. The Lost Coast Oupost did a recent story on our recent tsunami drill up here. I made a point to comment there and bring up something I've never heard Lori Dengler mention. She always says if you're near the ocean and feel a long earthquake, seek high ground as a tsunami may be on the way.

But what if you don't feel a quake? Maybe a better indication of tsunami is what the ocean does? If the water level recedes quickly, that's a good indication of a problem.

I recall reading that during the big pacific quake of years ago, people in Thailand didn't feel the quake- it having centered hundreds of miles away.  Some tourists were on some bay there and saw the bay empty itself of water rather quickly. Some of them apparently walked out on the then exposed floor of the bay to look at it only to be drowned when a tsunami came into the bay with a vengeance.

I heard a similar account on TV of the tsunami in Hilo, Hawaii.  A schoolteacher had her class on the beach when the water suddenly withdrew, exposing rocks that quicly turned to tidepools with stranded fish flopping around. The teacher sent the kids down to catch the fish. The tsunami came in shortly thereafter and got the kids.

You have to wonder if that is a lesson learned, yet I recall TV footage of the aftermath of the pacific earthquake in Hawaii. The water was pulling back from some bay, yet there was some guy out walking on the newly exposed rocks. Lucky for him the tsunami never really showed up, at least while I was watching.

Which isn't to say that receding water always precedes and earthquake. The late Pete Davenport- a retired Eureka police officer- told me of being in Old Town, Eureka during the Crescent City tsunami of the '60s. He told me of watching the bay, "I've never seen the water drop so fast". Of course, the tsunami didn't amount to much that time and Eureka came out unscathed.

Anyway, as I wrote on the Lost Coast Outpost, if you're at the beach and the water starts acting strange, seek higher ground even if you don't feel an earthquake.


At 8:13 AM, Blogger Daniel Edrich said...

Fred, that we've destroyed our thirty-foot Fore Dune while Dengler and Nicolini look hard the other way, makes it crystal-clear
someone is not paying attention.
What we are seeing is a repudiation of common-sense stewardship exchanged for disgraceful erosion, loss of wildlife habitat
and newly acquired vulnerability.
The Clary-Kids have destroyed our coastline
using HAF funds. Someone belongs in jail.

At 10:08 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I could get my family out of the house in 10 seconds, or nearly so. Ten seconds is everything in am emergency.

I'd like that warning system, and for Japan's building codes, to be implemented in California. One of the safest places to be in Japan during a major earthquake is in a skyscraper.

At 1:02 PM, Blogger Henchman Of Justice said...

Wrong thread dude.

At 1:04 PM, Blogger Henchman Of Justice said...

Sad thing is after the ten seconds getting outta your house, you'll find that often it's the public streets and infrastructure are so messed up or congested you'll find the ten seconds is.............IMMATERIAL.


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