Tsunami waves generated from a massive earthquake in Japan rocked that country’s east coast and killed hundreds before traveling at 500 miles per hour as they headed toward Hawaii and the western US seaboard. And as early reports begin to surface, two things are certain. Damage caused by the tsunamis was, indeed, extensive. But it also could have been a lot worse which is good news for a lot of bay areas.
Still, to people like retired mill worker and Crescent City resident Ted Scott, it must have seemed like deja vu all over again. Scott remembers all to well the 1964 tsunami that killed 17 on the west coast, 11 in Crescent City alone. “This is just devastating. I never thought I’d see this again,” he told ABC news.
Fortunately, Scott didn’t quite see what he saw some 47 years ago. According to ABC News, tsunami waves did not crest the 20-foot walls that protect the city and no serious home damage has been reported as yet. And that was pretty much the theme elsewhere, too. Drenched coastlines, and damaged boats, but nothing as severe as was originally feared.
That doesn’t mean that Crescent City and other exposed towns are out of the woods. Scientist warn that the first waves of the tsunami are not always the strongest, so there is still a threat, which means it’s still a good idea to be tsunami ready.
But at least as of now, authorities from Hawaii to Washington state are breathing a sigh of relief. Hawaii governor, Neil Abercrombie, described his state as “fortunate almost beyond words.” He added, “All of us had that feeling that Hawaii was just the most blessed place on the face of the Earth today.”
Authorities, however, are still glad they called for such widespread evacuation. “We called this right. This evacuation was necessary,” said geophysicist Gerard Fryer in Hawaii. “There’s absolutely no question, this was the right thing to do.”
Again, it’s important to note that while it appears as if Hawaii and the western US seaboard are lucky that damages weren’t a lot worse, there are likely more waves behind the initial tsunami waves.
We will keep you updated on the situation as details continue to emerge.