Professor: Budget Cuts To Tsunami Warning System May ‘Endanger The Country’

SAN DIEGO (CBS) — If a deadly tsunami wave is ever headed for Southern California, emergency management personnel — and millions of residents — may have even less time to prepare for its impact.

KNX 1070’s Tom Reopelle reports on the potential impact from proposed funding cuts to the nation’s tsunami warning and preparedness programs.

A proposed 2013 budget plan from the Obama administration would slash $4.6 million from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and likely affect the maintenance of dozens of high-tech buoys off the California coast that would confirm if a tsunami was about to hit the west coast.

If approved, the cuts would trim the already-tight funding limits for a program that one expert would potentially “endanger the country”.

“What they’re doing is the equivalent to unplugging your smoke detector in your house,” said Dr. John Orcutt, a professor of geophysics at the Scripps Institution of Oceanography. “You have to accept an awful lot of risk if you decide to unplug that smoke detector.”

Coastal cities like Santa Cruz and Crescent City suffered over $58 million in damages from a tsunami resulting from a massive 8.9-magnitude earthquake struck Japan in March of last year.

More from Tom Reopelle
  • Come'on

    We don’t even need a warning because it will not happen. This is a budget cut to the professor’s paycheck is what it is. He is just trying to scare people so the money can keep coming into his department and into his pocket by means of huge raises each year. NO RAISE THIS YEAR.

    • BeingSafe

      More like the tsunami will scare you by taking your family away and even you so that you end up just like the victims in the 2011 Japan earthquake and tsunami and the 2004 Indian Ocean earthquake and tsunami. Have you learned enough already from from these two disasters? We do need a warning because it WILL happen. In 1946, a tsunami created from Alaska crashed into Hawaii. A lot of people died from that event because there was no warning.

      Earthquakes happened before and they will happen again. OMG! These days! People are out of their MINDS!

  • up urs LAPD brass

    How about this. Why don’t you tax the rich folks who live at the beach instead of poor folks like me who liv inland and won’t ever benefit from this? If you are rich enough to live there you can afford it. I can’t and it doesn’t affect me, so if it’s important to you folks who it does affect you better reach down deep into your wallets and pay for it yourselves.

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