Pacific County

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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