Friday, June 14, 2013

Tsunami thoughts prelude

From the Seaside Signal, a local newspaper: 

"... the Gearhart City Council last week learned from Smith that residents have almost no place to run.
In fact, Gearhart has something that no other coastal town has: an “optional high ground assembly area.”
It’s a stretch of higher ground at the Gearhart Golf Links that, in 95 percent of the tsunamis, stays dry. It might stay dry in a large tsunami, but in an extra, extra large tsunami – where the magnitude of the Cascadia earthquake reaches 9.1 – even that wouldn’t be available, Smith said.
The new tsunami map for Gearhart, shows that “optional” assembly point as a crosshatched strip running along either side of the golf course and bordered by Gearhart Lane and Highlands Lane.
But, overall, “Gearhart doesn’t really have any good options for high ground,” Smith told the Gearhart City Council last week.
“The city of Gearhart is really at a disadvantage,” Smith said.
In a distant tsunami, water would surge up to U.S. Highway 101 south of Fifth Street, surrounding Gearhart Elementary School. Water also is expected to follow Neacoxie Creek throughout town, north to Gearhart Lane.
The worst case – or an “extra-extra large” tsunami, which would occur after a magnitude 9.1 earthquake — is expected to stretch way beyond U.S. Highway 101, past the end of Salminen Road, where the city’s water tank is located.
Another narrow crosshatched “optional high ground” strip runs east of Dooley Lane north beyond East Pine Lane, but that strip is only a potential oasis in the middle of a tsunami sea. And that’s only in a “large” tsunami, not in the worst case, Smith pointed out.
After listening to Smith, City Councilor Al Carder asked her what the likelihood would be that someone would reach the “optional” area near the golf course.
“If they’re on the west side of the Neacoxie, their access and egress is going to be gone,” Carder said. “We’re toast. We’re toast.”
Smith said she understood Carder’s concern.
“Yes, I can’t sugarcoat it,” she said. “It’s dire if (the tsunami) is an XXL. There will be a lot of fatalities in this area.”"

Stay tuned for my thoughts about this very personal threat.

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