When I think of a really bad tsunami hitting Santa Monica, I fear something more intense than just raised sea levels covering our beautiful beaches. I think of waves crashing into our low-lying residential neighborhoods and business districts, waves that hit the base of the 100 foot bluffs below Palisades Park and wrap around into Santa Monica Canyon, the McClure tunnel and up the I-10 freeway, and eat at the base of the northern part of our city.
Of course I hope this never happens. But if it did, people on top of the bluffs would probably be OK and hopefully the banks of the city there wouldn’t erode much. But what about parts of the Ocean Park neighborhood near sea level? That’s where I live. Official state of California maps suggest that only that the first block or two from the beach would be in the tsunami inundation zone. According to Paul Weinberg, Santa Monica’s Emergency Services Coordinator, this is based upon a worse case scenario of a 40-foot rise in sea level, where the height and impact of a wave would be mitigated somewhat by the large amount of sand it would have to travel across before reaching the neighborhood.
To read the rest of this piece, visit Michael Feinstein’s Blog