Following a magnitude 8.9 earthquake that struck of northeast Japan, the pacific coast of the North American continent is under a Tsunami alert from Alaska to southern California, including Santa Monica. Locally, NOAA’s National Weather Service West Coast and Alaska Tsunami Warning Center has issued a Tsunami Advisory for the coastal areas of Los Angeles County.
A Tsunami Advisory indicates that a tsunami capable of producing strong currents or waves dangerous to persons in or very near the water is expected. Persons in low-lying coastal areas should move inland to higher ground and be alert to instructions from local emergency officials. Currents may be hazardous to swimmers, boats, and coastal structures and may continue for several hours after the initial wave arrival.
Santa Monica police officials said they have not mandated any evacuation procedures, but are urging residents to be cautious. Santa Monica emergency response officials are working closely with the Los Angeles County Office of Emergency Management and Los Angeles County Fire Department Lifeguards to monitor the situation. Santa Monica Police will continue to patrol the beach area and the Santa Monica Pier throughout the morning.
Coastal areas north of Point Conception will likely experience a tsunami inundation between 3.5 to 7 feet. Highest wave inundation to around 7 feet can be expected around Port San Luis. For areas south of Point Conception… expected Tsunami Wave Heights of 2 feet to around 3 feet can be expected from Santa Barbara to Long Beach.
These expected tsunami wave amplitudes are heights beyond normal sea levels. They will look like an elevation of sea level in which the tsunami wave amplitude will retain this rise for 10 to 15 minutes… before receding and returning again… and repeating for up to 10 hours in very strong currents. They are expected to hit the L.A. area shores between 8:20 a.m. and 9 a.m. Mariners are advised to use caution and monitor the National Weather Service Tsunami Warning website along with the news for updates. Persons in the Tsunami advisory coastal areas should move out of the water and stay off the beach. Those in harbors and marinas should follow Coast Guard and Harbor Master recommendations.
A Tsunami warning from the National Weather Service could mean significant widespread inundation is imminent or expected. Warnings indicate that widespread dangerous coastal flooded, accompanied by powerful current is possible and may continue fore several hours after the initial wave arrival.