Earthquake News

There is a high probability of tsunamis and waves up to 42 feet tall in Washington; here are some precautions:

According to the Washington State Department of Natural Resources, Washington State has the second-highest seismic risk in all of America. Although tsunamis are less often than earthquakes, they have occurred in Washington and are likely to do so again. As a result of the Cascadia Subduction Zone, a 621-mile fault that extends from northern California to Vancouver Island, British Columbia, Washington is more susceptible to earthquakes and tsunamis. According to the city of Bellingham Emergency Management, the zone currently produces major earthquakes and is predicted to do so in the future. A recent tweet from the Washington State Department of Natural Resources showed a simulation of how an earthquake may impact Puget Sound, with waves up to 42 feet tall hitting the Seattle Great Wheel and even TMobile Park.

The rest of Puget Sound shields the inward coast from more erratic waves, thus for areas protected inside the Puget Sound like Bellingham, a tsunami from the subduction zone would take around two hours to impact land. However, if a tsunami is caused by a nearby earthquake, it can take only a few minutes before the first waves reach the shore. Would you know what to do in front of a tsunami, though, if you just had two hours? Here are some things you need to be aware of.

TSUNAMI RESPONSES According to the Washington State Department of Natural Resources, earthquakes are the primary cause of tsunamis, but landslides, weather, space objects like meteorites, and volcanic activity are other potential causes.

TSUNAMI ALERT SIGNALS The Washington State Department of Natural Resources advises that if you feel the ground trembling, you should immediately go inland or to higher ground as large earthquakes are warning indications of approaching tsunamis.

Additionally, 121 places on Washington State's inner and outer beaches have tsunami sirens that can be heard as well as vocal evacuation alerts. To help you be ready, the Washington State Emergency Management Division includes a detailed map of all the sirens along the state's coastline and playable audio of what a tsunami siren warning sounds like.

In addition to providing tsunami alerts online, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration also displays active earthquakes across the nation. In order to alert residents of earthquakes and potential tsunamis, Washington State is also continuously monitored by the National Tsunami Warning Center. Citizens can sign up for the Emergency Alert System to get text messages, emails, or phone notifications about tsunami warnings. Additionally, tsunami warnings are broadcast on the radio, television, and internet. The Washington State Department of Natural Resources advises residents to get in touch with their neighborhood emergency managers to learn more about local tsunami alert information.

Tsunami notifications can come in a variety of forms, such as warning, advisory, watch, and information statements. If a tsunami warning is given, leave right away. Citizens are advised to avoid the coast in the event of a tsunami. A tsunami watch instructs residents to get ready for a potential evacuation and keep an eye out for any local emergency alerts. A tsunami information statement is merely a straightforward warning that a tsunami may eventually occur and does not call for any specific action.

WHERE TO ESCAPE Move inland and to higher ground at least 50 feet above sea level if a tsunami is imminent. The Washington State Department of Natural Resources has compiled evacuation maps and tsunami information booklets for regions around the Washington coast in case of a tsunami, including an approximation of walking distances and timings, police stations, and fire stations you might need to access.

TSUNAMI PREPARATION STRATEGIES Several steps should be taken to prepare for tsunamis, according to the Washington State Department of Natural Resources.

  • A radio, text alerts, or emails are a few examples of many channels from which you should be able to get tsunami warnings.
  • Together with your family, develop and test a plan for emergencies. Due to potential road closures or damage, include a walking evacuation route and get comfortable with
  • Make a portable emergency kit with the supplies you, your family, and even your pet could require. Place emergency supplies at your house, your car, your place of employment, and your friends' houses who don't reside in a tsunami hazard area.
  • Ask the school where your child attends if they have a tsunami emergency plan and where you can pick them up if something happens.

The Washington Emergency Management Division suggests including two weeks' worth of goods, such as food, water, medical supplies, clothing, and sanitation products, in emergency kits.

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