Engineers: California Tsunami Risk Rises With Sea Levels

LOS ANGELES (CBS) — The tsunami risk for Southern California will increase in direct proportion to the rise in sea levels, according to a state environmental panel.

KNX 1070’s John Brooks reports the recent — and relatively moderate — surge that hit California’s coastline in the wake of the Japan tsunami caused an estimated $44 million in damages.

However, Lesley Ewing, a senior engineer with the California Coastal Commission, warns that when the ocean level rises — either through the tides or climate change — the damage from any tsunami gets significantly worse.

Before the Japan wave, the most recent tsunami to hit California’s coast was in 1964 from the earthquake in Alaska that tore dozens of boats from their moorings in harbors in L.A. and Long Beach.

But geologists say the fault record shows a far more massive wave hit California in 1700 in the wake of a magnitude 9.0 earthquake on the subduction zone near Oregon.

Researchers say another quake that size on that same fault could generate waves up to 100 feet high.

(©2010 CBS Local Media, a division of CBS Radio Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. Wire services contributed to this report.)

  • vince

    surfin USA.what can I say

  • Poke Me

    CalTech idiots kept predicting the Big One in Cali, but it never occur. They said it was due last decade, then this decade, & if it happens in the next decade, they’ll say, “i told yall so”.

    • Capt.Obvious

      Caltech idiots? Wow… You’re obviously VERY VERY smart since the Caltech scientists are “idiots” in your eyes. Where did you go to school again? Since you’re SO smart, why aren’t you doing anything to predict earthquakes? Are you too busy posting comments in local news stories to get out there and actually put your genius to good use?

  • Opticaltee

    This is just another reason for scientists to get more federal money for another study!

  • MzMaxi

    Coastal Commission employee making these statements, be very cautious as they appear to have a vested interest in such dire predictions. Their budgets are created from such fear mongering and instilling radical thoughts such as eliminating all homes from shore areas. This little press release certainly supports their way of thinking and will be likely used against economic development projects or to line their own pockets with ill-advised bond projects.
    Just like the one we’re fighting in Malibu to Save the Malibu Lagoon from bond funded job security based projects spearheaded by psuedo-environmentalists groups who are looking for big payouts in a rough economy.

    • MzMaxi

      Keep seeking ‘seeker’, you aren’t even close and probably can’t read a map. May you find some enlightenment in this world to erase all the hatred you horde like it actually has value. I will now call you Bleaker since you have such a lovely outlook on the world and your fellow inhabitants in it.

  • Laughing in el monte

    Go update your Twitter.

  • S. C. S.

    Ok guys, so we could have a tsunami… now, are you planing to do something about it in order to safeguard the lives of the population? For example: Where are the alarms along the coast that were supposed to be in place by now? Have you prepared any evacuation centers? Are your communication means reliable? Do you have medical,water and food supplies available? Do you have a civilian force to help move the old and the sick to a safe place? Do you have search teams for the aftermath? We are taxpayers and as such we deserve to receive something back for what we pay. Against what you bureaucrats may assume our taxes are not only supposed to go to your pockets in the form of very fat pay checks and for the purpose of you running endless useless meetings during which you ingest catered food and french mineral water that is also paid with our money. Thousands of lives are on the line. Stop your useless meetings and get to work!

  • Guy Joseph

    This article about tsunami effects that could reach unprecedented proportions, under present conditions is the most sanest and truest article to be published so far. Even though there is no need for creating a panic, as the saying goes, “forewarned is to be forearmed.”
    And arming oneself against a 100 foot high roaring tsunami moving faster than
    a locomotive, is anything but an imagination. We have seen the power and
    destructive capacities of such a force. and this fact should fill the vacuum, and necessity of worship and prayer which we all have neglected, even ignored, for so long. It is never too late, nor anything to be shameful, when accepting, acknowledging, and worshipping God is concerned. And it is not too late for
    Guy Joseph

    • TT

      @guy – you are absoutely right … I hope we are prepared when that time comes….

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