Tiny Tsunami Expected Along Oregon Coast
(Oregon Coast) - An 8.3 magnitude earthquake that caused a tsunami in Samoa has resulted in a tsunami advisory for the Oregon coast, as well as the coasts of Washington and California. The National Weather Service (NWS) issued the advisory, saying a mild tsunami – up to two feet – could arrive on the coast about 10 p.m. later tonight (Tuesday).
More recent word from the NWS has indicated it should only be six to 10 inches, which translates to simply larger than normal waves – not unlike big storm surges during the winter. It is the lowest level advisory for a tsunami.
“A Tsunami Advisory means that a tsunami capable of producing strong currents or waves dangerous to persons in or very near the water is imminent or expected,” the NWS said in a bulletin. “Significant, widespread inundation is not expected for areas under an advisory. Currents may be hazardous to swimmers, boats, and coastal structures and may continue for several hours after the initial wave arrival.”
The tsunami does not pose a threat to homes or structures along the shoreline, and no evacuations are planned. Officials are stressing this will result in only larger than normal waves, many of which may not be noticeable.
Because of this, various police, sheriffs and coast guard agencies will be keeping people off the beaches. Onlookers and curiosity seekers are especially worrisome to officials, who say these people are often the hardest to handle in such situations. Since the waves are expected to begin hitting around 10 p.m., the combination of a dark, nocturnal beach and people hoping to catch a glimpse poses a greater than usual danger.
Bays and ports, like those in Garibaldi and Newport, do pose more possible problems for boats, the NWS said. Officials are urging extreme caution in those areas.
Keith Chandler, manager of Seaside Aquarium, said there is a high tide happening around that time tonight, but even estimates of a three-foot wave won’t add that much to it – and that would only be momentarily.
“That would make maybe a ten-foot wave,” Chandler said. “We have ten-foot high tides in the winter all the time. That’s a normal high tide. Even a three-foot surge along the rivers is just going to be a blip.”
This event does not worry Chandler at all, and in fact he’s looking forward to some possible benefits. “It might take the excess sand from our [Seaside] beach,” he said. “Then we won’t have to hire a contractor to level off the sand as much. On some steeper beaches, there may be some erosion, though.”
At 10:48 a.m. Pacific Daylight Time on September 29, an earthquake with preliminary magnitude 8.0 occurred in the Samoa Islands region, the NWS said. This earthquake has generated a tsunami which could cause damage to coastal regions in a warning or advisory. The waves are expected to first reach Adak, Alaska at 7:25 p.m. AKDT on September 29. Estimated tsunami arrival times and maps along with safety rules and other information can be found on the WCATWC web site.
Keep an eye on the tides, weather and even web cams at: