Oregon Coast Residents React to Tsunami That Wasn't
(Oregon Coast) – With shades of the tsunami scare a few years ago, the Oregon coast is back to normal after a government-issued tsunami advisory had officials clearing the beaches Tuesday night because of a small rise in ocean waves that might've posed some dangers.
The Samoan earthquake and tsunami that happened Tuesday morning did not cause any discernable rise in wave surges or even a minor detectable tsunami on the Oregon coast, although some witnesses reported the waves disappearing briefly as the ocean seemed to suck outwards, as happens just before a large tsunami. Reports have differed about California, some saying the state actually detected some measurable wave while others saying nothing appeared.
While many coastal residents are chuckling over the event, it actually turned out to be a non-event. However, government agencies are applauding the chance for a dry run of a tsunami warning and reaction, and the general consensus was that it all went well and efficiently.
Angi Wildt of the Depoe Bay Winery in Depoe Bay said customers and residents alike were well informed about the advisory, as she got numerous calls from local friends and the tourists she dealt with at work knew exactly what was going on.
“Everyone that came in that door was talking about it,” Wildt said. “Nobody was worried or scared.”
In Manzanita – about 76 feet above the sea and several blocks back - San Dune Inn owner Brian Hines said visitors to town were better informed than he was initially.
“First I heard about it, a couple came in and asked if we were in the 'zone,' " Hines said. "They checked in as they didn't want to stay further down by the beach."
Hines said some of his employees had only gotten half the situation right and he had to calm them a little and explain the advisory.
At the Whale Pointe Resort in Depoe Bay, manager Patt Dardis said there wasn’t much to tell or see, but she was pleased with the efficiency of the warning.
“The resort called each unit to advise that the beach had been closed because of the coming tsunami,” she said. “They were being very cautious and were taking no chances even though they really didn't expect much to happen.”
From her oceanfront home in Gleneden Beach, she watched the waves for a while. Both Dardis and Wildt said the ocean was frothy, but Dardis’ husband woke her about 2:30 a.m. to show her something odd.
“My husband heard a strange noise like before an avalanche, and he looked out,” Dardis said. “He said the ocean had no waves and looked black out to the horizon. He even woke me up to show me. Perhaps it was an ‘aftershock’ causing it.”
At least one TV news crew from Portland watching the surf at Cannon Beach noticed similar wave action, which can happen during more active surf and not necessarily the result of any unusual wave surge.
Wildt said there were about ten other people gathered at the seawall of Depoe Bay to watch if anything unusual happened. She said there was a sense of everyone being energized and excited about what might happen.
“But then I felt kind of guilty” Wildt said. “Just knowing it was that serious in Samoa, and here we're all excited.”