Japanese earthquake

A research grant announced Tuesday will allow seismologists to take the first steps toward an early warning system for earthquakes in the Northwest. An operational system is still a long way off, but it could eventually resemble the computerized warnings pioneered in Japan.

Back in March, some Japanese residents got an alert via cell phone or a TV screen pop-up. The alert warned them that severe shaking would begin within seconds.

Pacific Northwest Seismograph Network director John Vidale says an early warning, even of less than a minute, gives time to prepare.

University of Hawaii

Calling it an “emerging threat,” Sen. Maria Cantwell testified in congress yesterday that a floating debris field five-times the size of the state of Washington is heading for the West Coast and could disrupt the state’s economy when it lands in 2014.

“After the tragic tsunami that struck Japan, whole communities were swept out to sea in an unwieldy mass of toxic debris,” she testified in the Senate Commerce Committee. “We can’t wait until all of this tsunami trash washes ashore. We need to have an aggressive plan on how we’re going to deal with it.”

SEATTLE – The Japanese tsunami back in March washed millions of tons of debris out to sea, and winds and currents are pushing it very slowly across the Pacific Ocean.

Scientists tracking the flotsam have new evidence that it does not pose a radiological threat despite the Japanese nuclear disaster that followed the tsunami.

David Guttenfelder / AP

The public is invited to a special memorial service for the victims of the earthquake and tsunami that devastated much of northeastern Japan in March.

The service is being held by the Northwest Zen Community at St. Ignatius Chapel on the Seattle University campus at 1:30 p.m. this Sunday (May 15).

Tokyo Electric Power Co. / AP

Even though the damaged nuclear reactors continue to cause problems in Japan, the amount of radiation reaching the Pacific coast is dropping.

Public health officials say the radiation threat has been more psychological than physical. They're proud of how they've responded to the nuclear power plant crisis in Japan. 

The earthquake, tsunami and nuclear crisis in Japan are reverberating across the Pacific in a variety of ways. Now, a Vancouver B.C.-area bottled water company finds itself at the center of efforts to cope with the latest turn of events.