A recent article in the Los Angeles Times talked about the impact that would be felt along the coast of California if a 9.1 earthquake in Alaska were to occur. The earthquake would generate a large tsunami that would create massive flooding and would likely force 750,000 to evacuate low lying areas like Long Beach, Orange County, Marina del Rey among other coastal areas.
California has long been prepared for earthquakes, but not until recently has the threat of a tsunami been taken more seriously. Officials have been considering evacuation routes in coastal cities as well as what areas would be impacted the most. Some areas would be very difficult to evacuate because of the narrow roadways like Balboa Island in Newport Beach. During the summer, California’s beaches are also packed with hundreds of thousands of beach goers. If a tsunami were to hit during these months, it would be increasingly difficult to evacuate people from the shoreline.
The impact of a tsunami on the California coastline could reach more than $10 billion as it would effect commercial real estate, homes, beaches and boats. “A toxic stew of ship debris and fuel and pesticide-laden runoff from flooded farms could take years to clean up.”
It is a good thing that California has began taking the necessary steps to prepare for a disaster. Many people have the mentality that it won’t happen here, but in all likely hood it is only a matter of time before it does. Natural disasters happen every hundred years. With no documented history of a tsunami impacting California, it seems like the state is long overdue.