tsunami

Tom Banse / NW News Network

Sooner or later the offshore Cascadia fault zone is going to unleash a monster earthquake and tsunami. When that day comes, you hope that coastal schools, fire stations and hospitals are located high enough so that they don't get washed away just when you really need them.

In Oregon, it's state law that new schools and public safety buildings be built outside the tsunami zone. But that rule has a bullseye on it.

Sarah Sterling / PSU

A legend about a great flood has been passed down through the centuries among the Klallam people on the north side of Washington's Olympic Peninsula. As re-told by Klallam elder Ed Sampson on a recording preserved by a University of North Texas linguist, the people noticed the fresh water turning salty -- a detail from which we infer a tsunami. 

Tom Banse / Northwest News Network

Ocean Shores, Washington, has no natural high ground inside its city limits. On Tuesday night, residents will meet with government and university experts to discuss whether to build a tsunami evacuation platform as in a few other Northwest coastal towns.

Tom Banse / Northwest News Network

Emergency managers from Washington coastal counties and tribes practiced tsunami alert communication and coordination with state and federal partners Thursday. They're trying to smooth out glitches revealed after an undersea earthquake in Alaska in January.

Lance Cpl. Ethan Johnson / U.S. Marine Corps - tinyurl.com/y76p2eo9

The worst case scenario for flooding from a tsunami along the Pacific Northwest coast just got even worse. Washington's Department of Natural Resources with help from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration re-mapped the maximum tsunami threat from Grays Harbor down to the Columbia River mouth.

Tom Banse / Northwest News Network

A 7.9 earthquake off the coast of Alaska triggered a tsunami watch that stretched from Washington to California early Tuesday morning. But many coastal residents slumbered right through it.

That’s because it was a watch—not a warning—which would have triggered outdoor sirens up and down the coast.

Tom Banse / Northwest News Network

The rare but ever-present risk of a tsunami has worried people along the Pacific Northwest coast for years. Different communities are working on moving critical facilities to higher ground.

Derin Allard / Flickr - tinyurl.com/y89yojzg

When a massive tsunami hit the northeast coast of Japan in 2011, waves of water overtopped sea walls, swallowed buildings and surged higher than anticipated. One thing those images prompted was a reexamination of the tsunami risk in the Pacific Northwest.

Tom Banse / Northwest News Network

A new tsunami survival option has come to the Pacific Northwest coast. It involves climbing into a spherical aluminum pod for what is sure to be the ride of your life.

FEMA/City of Long Beach, Washington

Long Beach, Washington, has an earthquake and tsunami preparedness problem shared with some other low-lying coastal Northwest places such as Seaside, Oregon, and Ocean Shores, Washington. Many townspeople and visitors likely couldn’t reach high ground in time to escape a tsunami.

Oregon Updates Its Post-Disaster Playbook

Sep 15, 2015
Oregon Office of Emergency Management

The state of Oregon has updated its master plan for what to do in case of a major earthquake and tsunami.

Tom Banse / Northwest News Network

Up and down the West Coast there are beach towns where it would be challenging to escape a tsunami.

Ecola Architects, PC

SEATTLE - Building codes cover fire prevention, energy efficiency, and seismic safety among other things. Now a group of civil engineers from around the West is developing additions to the code to cover the threat of a tsunami.

Kent Yu of Degenkolb Engineers in Portland is one of the members of an American Society of Civil Engineers subcommittee drafting standards for "tsunami loads and effects."

"I think it is going to help make our communities more resilient."

Tom Banse / Northwest News Network

Most of the tsunami warning sirens in one Oregon coastal county will go silent in the New Year. Communities up and down the West Coast are phasing in more modern forms of emergency alerts.

After much debate, Tillamook County leaders decided they could not justify the expense of modernizing and maintaining an aging network of 30 tsunami warning sirens. County emergency management director Gordon McCraw says there are many other pathways for people to hear about incoming danger.