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

Mar 11, 2011

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.

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."

 

Some Washington Evacuations

People living in the lowest-lying areas of Grays Harbor and Pacific counties were being asked to evacuate for higher ground, including those in the communities of Pacific Beach, Taholah, Iron Springs (near Copalis Beach) in Grays Harbor County, and Ilwaco, Long Beach and Ocean Park in Pacific County.

A tsunami wave of about 3.3 feet to 4 feet was forecast for the Washington Coast, but forecasters said later waves could be larger.

About 60 people had evacuated to Grays Harbor Fire District No. 8 in Moclips. Volunteer firefighter Cathy Bisiack says the group of mostly elderly residents are enjoying a pancake breakfast and watching the news on television.