Should we worry about tsunamis living at the oregon coast?
Last night an 8.2 magnitude earthquake struck in the Gulf of Alaska triggering a tsunami watch alert along the west coast. It was quickly called off but I’m sure brought up the question for many people just how safe it is to live at the coast.
I personally live in an oceanfront house with my wife and two young boys. It is something we deal with first hand. In my humble opinion it is a matter of educating yourself on what the realities are and making a decision on if the risk is worth it to you. We all have fears we deal with. What’s important is not letting the fears of what might happen outweigh the risks of probable outcomes. Our family loves life at the beach. And we have plans in place for probable scenarios. We have multiple meeting places, emergency equipment ready, contacts in place to check in with, and most importantly we educate ourselves and our kids what to expect. There are many resources available to learn how a tsunami is formed and what will happen. Our kids are regulars at the Hatfield Marine Science Center which has great hands on exhibits that explain waves and possible tsunamis. If you are interested in learning more about tsunamis and how to be better prepared HMSC is a great resource and more can be found at http://hmsc.oregonstate.edu/tsunami-preparedness. Another important resource for those of us that live or visit Lincoln County is the LINCOLN ALERTS. You can sign up to be notified of emergency announcements and get more information about the difference between what a tsunami “watch” and “warning” are and what to do if either area announced. SIGN UP HERE.
The reality is anywhere you live is going to come with some sort of risk of disaster, natural or manmade. Here at the coast there are many things you can do to reduce the risk of being caught in the wrong spot during a tsunami if it was to happen. Some people like myself are comfortable living on the water and feel perfectly safe. Others that love the coast prefer to own a home above the “tsunami zone.” Every area will have its own zone maps and its important to know evacuation routes and safe zones. That can be determined with the help of a local expert. I recommend starting at the site listed above for more information.A 7.9-magnitude earthquake was recorded about 175 miles southeast of Kodiak Island, Alaska on Jan. 23, 2018. USGS image