Japan Quake

Japan Quake
10:09 am
Mon March 14, 2011

Danger to U.S. considered unlikely from Japanese nuclear crisis

A resident suspected of being exposed to radiation is taken to medical care by a security team, in Nihonmatsu, Fukushima, northern Japan Sunday, March 13, 2011 following radiation emanation from a nuclear reactor after Friday's massive quake.
AP

A local expert says danger to the United States is unlikely from the nuclear crisis in Japan, following the devastating earthquake and tsunami. That's also being echoed by the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission, as reported by The Wall Street Journal.

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News Roundup
7:49 am
Mon March 14, 2011

Monday morning's headlines

It will be a rainy and windy Monday around Western Washington, with high temperatures in the low 50's.  Rain is in the forecast all this week. 

Making headlines around the Northwest this morning:

  • Mudslides Affect Commute
  • Northwest Relief Workers to Japan
  • Obama's Education Secretary Here, Virtually

 

Rails and Roads Covered in Mud

Sounder rail lines, Amtrak routes and at least one major highway are blocked by mudslides this morning. Sunday's heavy rains caused at least three separate slides over Burlington Northern Santa Fe tracks: two north of Seattle, and one in southwest Washington near Vancouver. 

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Science
3:45 pm
Fri March 11, 2011

Japan tsunami illustrates risks facing Pacific Northwest coast

UW Brian Atwater (center) points out evidence of the 1700 Cascadia earthquake and tsunami to field-trip participants during a canoe trip along the Niawiakum River.
Brian Atwater University of Washington

The same type of tectonic earthquake that hit Japan - involving the collision of plates that make up the Earth's crust - could happen in the Northwest.  Similar faults lie in the Cascadia subduction zone. 

The head of the Pacific Northwest Seismic Network at the University of Washington, John Vidale, told The Seattle Times' Sandi Doughton the Cascadia fault last ruptured in 1700.  Scientists believe it generated at magnitude 9 earthquake and a tsunami that may have been bigger than the one that battered Japan. 

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Japan Quake
2:00 pm
Fri March 11, 2011

Tsunami waves not visible to the eye on coast

Tidal gauges detected a tsunami wave along the Washington and Oregon coasts Friday morning. But the swell, up to 1.5 feet, went unnoticed by coastal residents who chose not to evacuate.

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Japan Quake Aftermath
10:45 am
Fri March 11, 2011

Threat from tsunami waves lessens; people asked to stay off coast beaches

Waves common for a stormy springtime day crash into the beach Friday, March 11, 2011 in Moclips, Wash. A Tsunami caused by the Thursday earthquake in Japan reached the west coast of the United States early Friday, though its impact was minimal.
Ted S. Warren AP

Updated at 10:32 a.m.

The first wave of the tsunami to hit the Washington Coast measured 1.6 feet at La Push and about half a foot at Neah Bay and Port Angeles, according to the National Weather Service.

Tsunami Adisory Remains in Effect

Science and Operations officer Kirby Cook says the tsunami advisory is still in effect for the Washington Coast and more waves could be on the way. Cook says more waves are landing in California and that means Washington and Oregon can expect more as well.

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Japan Quake
8:33 am
Fri March 11, 2011

Tsunami waves washing in along Northwest coast; limited evacuations in Grays Harbor, Pacific counties

A tsunami evacuation sign in Grays Harbor County, on Washington's coast. There have been limited evacuations, as a surge of 4 feet is expected this morning.
AP

The National Weather Service reports the tsunami generated by the 8.9 earthquake that hit Japan on Friday is now coming ashore on the Washington and Oregon coastline.

Meteorologist Johnny Berg says the tsunami advisory is still in effect and waves are coming in, but he says he doesn't have details to offer about how high those waves are.

An AP photographer reports vigorous wave activity on the coast near Moclips, on the central coast, similar to any stormy day on the ocean beaches.

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Breaking News
7:08 am
Fri March 11, 2011

Major quake, tsunami hits Japan; limited evacuations on Washington coast due to wave threat

Cars and other Debris swept away by tsunami tidal waves are seen in Kesennuma in Miyagi Prefecture, northern Japan, after strong earthquakes hit the area Friday, March 11, 2011.
Keichi Nakane Yomiuri Shimbun

Updated 7:08 a.m., PST.  

The National Weather Service (NOAA) has issued a tsunami advisory for the Washington Coast following the massive 8.9 quake in northeast Japan.

Tsunami 'Advisory' Definition, from the National Weather Service:

  • Persons in a tsunami “Advisory” coastal area should move out of the water, off the beach and out of harbors and marinas.
  • Tsunami Advisories mean that a tsunami capable of producing strong currents or waves dangerous to people in or very near water is imminent or expected.
  • Significant widespread inundation is NOT expected for areas in an ‘advisory.'

 

Waves Expected Here After 7 a.m.; Some Evacuations on Coast

In Pacific and Grays Harbor counties, emergency management officials say "limited" evacuations are taking place. 

In Grays Harbor County, evacuations are taking place in the lowest-lying areas of Taholah, Pacific Beach, Moclips and Iron Springs (north of Copalis Beach), are people are being asked to move to higher ground.  A wave surge of up to 4 feet is projected for those areas shortly after 7 a.m. this morning, the highest level of wave expected to hit Washington state.

Pacific County has implemented its 'reverse 911' system, calling residents on the coast and in lowlying areas and asking them to evacuate calmly. He says an orderly evacuation is happening in Long Beach, Ilwaco and Ocean Park.

People are being asked to stay away from the beaches, harbors and coastal lowlands. Although the initial wave times are indicated, the highest wave may not impact the area for a few hours after that time.

In Oregon, tsunami sirens are blaring in coastal communities, the warning for residents to seek higher ground.  Traffic is heavy on the main transportation artery, Highway 101. In Seaside, at least one hotel has been evacuated. Waves in Oregon may be as high as 6 feet, and expected to arrive between 7 and 8 a.m.

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