Are you aware of the damage an earthquake and tsunami could do to Jefferson and Clallam counties and the steps you should take when one occurs?
The second annual Tsunami Roadshow, to be presented in both counties free of charge Friday, will help you answer those questions.
“Tsunami, An Awareness Event,” will be presented from noon to 2 p.m. in Room J-47 in the Pirate Union Building at the Port Angeles Peninsula College campus, 1502 E. Lauridsen Blvd., Port Angeles.
It also will be presented from 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. at the auditorium at Chimacum High School, 91 West Valley Road.
How tsunami is created
Four scientists with expertise on the subject will explain how an earthquake from the Cascadia Subduction Zone will create a tsunami, how it would affect area residents and businesses, and what people need to do to prepare for one.
Emergency planners say that in the advent of such a quake, Clallam and Jefferson counties will be isolated for weeks after bridges collapse and roads fail, creating dozens of micro-islands on the North Olympic Peninsula.
Based on the geological record and written accounts from Japan, the last major Cascadia quake occurred Jan. 26, 1700. Geologists say it is not a matter of if, but when the next big one strikes the 600-mile-long subduction zone off the northwest coast.
At Friday’s roadshow, the most up-to-date research on historical tsunami deposits will be presented by Carrie Garrison-Laney, tsunami and coastal resilience liaison/environmental outreach specialist for University of Washington, said Todd Morrison, Jefferson County Department of Emergency Management public information officer.
Garrison-Laney “talks about what the deposits tell us in Discovery Bay and near Neah Bay and explain the timelines,” said Jamye Wisecup, program coordinator for the Clallam County Emergency Management Department.
Daniel Eungard, USCG geologist, will describe specific tsunami inundation and appropriate evacuation routes in “Tsunami Inundation, Arrival Times & Our Area.”
Maximilian Dixon, Washington’s earthquake program manager, will speak about evacuation and preparedness in “Local vs. Distant Tsunamis: Evacuation & Preparedness.”
Tyree Wilde, the warning coordination meteorologist with the National Weather Service, will address the types of tsunami alerts in “Tsunami Alerts & What They Mean.”
Also present will be Keily Yemm, tsunami program coordinator for the Washington State Military Department’s Emergency Management Division.
“We don’t want anyone to be scared about this. If we are prepared, we’ll be better off when something happens,” Morrison said.
“We should be ready for an earthquake, tsunami, or a power outage that will last for a few days, if not longer.
“If you work in downtown in Port Townsend or at the port, or you you live on a boat, you should take action immediately. If there’s a distant earthquake, you should know how long that wave will take to get here.”
Wisecup said she thought that several people in Clallam County have done good jobs of public education about tsunamis and how they would affect the area.
“Now I think the mindset and the thinking should be the science of saving lives,” she said.
The county is “getting on top” of early warnings, Wisecup said. “It may only be 90 seconds or 10 seconds but any time you have warning, each second second gives you the ability to make a decision that will save your life.”
Wisecup said that some have called the Olympic Peninsula the beauty and the beast — a place of great natural beauty “but with a beast lurking out there.”
“The Tsunami Roadshow builds us up to having a culture that is prepared and that has mitigated possible impacts, so we can enjoy living here,” she said.
Morrison attended a tsunami conference last week at Camp Murray in Olympia that focused on communications. He said officials are investigating different ways to communicate emergency information via the radio, the web, phone texts and sirens.
“You should know what to do when you get that Nixle alert on your phone. Although sirens will go off, if you’re not living near them, you might not hear them. So having another way to learn of these potential events is important.”
Morrison suggested getting involved in one of the neighborhood groups organized all over the county.
“I’m impressed with the preparation by these grassroots efforts. To get involved go to www.l2020.org.”
The presentation is sponsored by the state of Washington Emergency Management with the emergency management offices in each of the two counties and Peninsula College in Clallam County.
Jefferson County Editor/Reporter Jeannie McMacken can be reached at 360-385-2335 or at [email protected]
Executive Editor Leah Leach can be reached at 360-417-3530 or at [email protected].