Japanese Tsunami

AP Photo/Washington Dept. of Fish & Wildlife

Exactly three years have passed since a huge tsunami in March 2011 took thousands of lives in Japan and washed whole villages out to sea. Suspected tsunami debris started arriving on our shores the following December, but it's been less than feared.

Washington Dept. of Fish & Wildlife / Associated Press

Workers are waitingin Forks for better weather to start removing a 65-foot long dock that washed ashore on the Washington coast from the Japanese tsunami.

A spokeswoman for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Keeley Belva, said Friday work could start over the weekend if weather, tides and safety considerations are favorable.

The March 2011 earthquake and tsunami in Japan served as a wake up call for coastal residents and visitors on our shores. But two years later, it is hard to measure how much that disaster has changed tsunami readiness on the Pacific Northwest coast.

Althea Rizzo is the geologic hazards program coordinator for Oregon Emergency Management. She says she's certain tsunami awareness has increased.

A team from Washington Fish and Wildlife is trying to figure out whether the newest rusty visitor to the Northwest coast came from the 2011 tsunami in Japan. The 19-foot-long metal pipe landed at Cape Disappointment near Ilwaco, Wash.

State Parks spokeswoman Sandy Mealing says the metal tourist will reside in a storage area until it can pass a few more tests.

State and federal biologists say they are confident they have minimized the invasive species threat posed by a derelict dock that washed ashore last month in Olympic National Park. The concrete and steel dock appears to have drifted across the Pacific Ocean after last year's tsunami in Japan. But the story is not over yet.

AP

Federal, state and tribal officials are attempting to track a large dock that was reported drifting off the coast of Washington state.

NOAA spokeswoman Keeley Belva said Monday the object has not been relocated or confirmed since it was initially reported Dec. 14. Fishermen aboard a vessel reported seeing a large object floating off the coast, about 16 nautical miles northwest of Grays Harbor. 

The Associated Press

Winter winds and ocean currents are expected to deposit more debris on the Washington coast from the March 2011 tsunami in Japan.

State Ecology Department spokeswoman Linda Kent says the amount of debris declined over the summer after peaking in June, but it could pick up as weather patterns shift.

Researchers with Oregon State University and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration say they’ve detected minute amounts of radioactivity from the Fukushima reactor meltdown in albacore tuna caught along the West Coast. It's not considered a health threat at all.

For the first time, the Japanese government says it will help to cover some of the cost of cleaning up tsunami debris on American and Canadian shores. Confirmed debris swept to sea by last year's Japanese tsunami began to wash up here this spring.

International law imposes no formal obligation on Japan to help. But now the spin from Tokyo is that the Japanese government wants to make a gesture of appreciation for the overseas support it has received since last year.

Here's chief cabinet secretary Osamu Fujimura speaking through a translator.

Tsunami debris clean-up costs mounting in NW

Aug 7, 2012

SALEM, Ore. – The costs of cleaning up Japanese tsunami debris along Northwest coasts are adding up. Oregon says it's reached the half-million dollar mark. And officials say debris is now being spotted in unexpected places.

Tsunami debris. It's not just for ocean beaches anymore.

"This stuff's coming into rivers now," says Mike Caldwell, Deputy Director of the Oregon Military Department.

The Associated Press

Workers removing a tsunami dock from Agate Beach near Newport cut off the first piece Wednesday, but they were unable to remove it before dark.

Eight junior high students and their teachers from the Japanese tsunami zone arrive in Seattle Thursday. It's an unusual disaster relief effort. The schoolchildren are being treated to a free trip to escape the still difficult conditions at home, at least temporarily.

Bellevue, Washington-based web and email hosting firm PSP, Inc. donated to Japanese earthquake and tsunami relief last year, like other Pacific Northwest companies did.

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Lawmakers from the Northwest say a new federal grant to help clean up tsunami debris is just not enough to get the job done. They’re lobbying for millions of dollars to get rid of items washing ashore from last year’s tsunami in Japan.

More than 700 volunteers turned out Thursday to help pick up litter and flotsam on the Oregon and southwest Washington coasts. Volunteers were on alert for debris from last year's tsunami in Japan. There were some possible new finds on Long Beach, Washington.

The fifth of July is a traditional beach cleanup day in Manzanita and Seaside, Oregon and on Washington's Long Beach Peninsula. The coordinator of Manzanita's cleanup estimates the three dump truck loads hauled away were "99 percent fireworks" related.

The Associated Press

OLYMPIA, Wash. — Gov. Chris Gregoire is releasing $500,000 from her emergency fund to address costs associated with potential debris washing up on the state's beaches from the Japanese tsunami.

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