Report: U.S. West Coast Not Prepared for Tsunami

September 23, 2010

A report from the National Academies of Science says the West Coast of the United States remains ill-prepared for a tsunami.

The seismologist who led the review of tsunami preparedness says an earthquake on the offshore fault called the subduction zone could send waves crashing into the shores of Washington, Oregon and Northern California within minutes. That’s not enough time for local authorities to issue warnings or for evacuations.

John Orcutt of the University of California, San Diego, told The Seattle Times that’s what happened in Indonesia and it’s what could happen in the United States.

He says the only way to prepare people for such a fast-moving disaster is to deeply ingrain a simple message: When the ground shakes or the water pulls back from the shore, walk uphill as quickly as possible.

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