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Preparing for possible tsunamis in Santa Cruz County

SANTA CUZ, Calif. (KION-TV)- The ocean waves in Santa Cruz County are calm and at ease. However, one day, this ocean could pose a threat to the local communities.

According to a tsunami hazard map from the California Department of Conservation, Santa Cruz County is one of 20 coastal counties that could have a tsunami.

Now according to the California Geological Survey, if a tsunami were to hit here due to a 9.3 magnitude earthquake from Alaska, it could be up to 18-25 feet higher than the beach boardwalk.

Luckily, according to Engineering Geologist of the CGS Nick Graehl, thanks to new technology and research sources, the CGS can help with evacuation plans as well.

“Instead of making tsunami indentation maps, or flood maps, we’re now able to create evacuation maps where we take the edge of the flooded area and snap it to a geographic feature such as a road to make evacuation easier for the public and first responders.”

Hearing this new tsunami information still brings its fears.

One resident said his biggest fear was having a tsunami hit since where he was originally from also had the issue of possible tsunamis.

Based on the research, a tsunami won’t happen anytime soon, but that shouldn’t stop people who live in risky areas from preparing and not being caught off guard.

“So this is an opportunity for the public to check the maps and to go online and see if they live, work, or visit in a tsunami hazard area,” Graehl said. “And to update their personal and family tsunami response plans. Tsunamis can be scary, but in most cases, you can find out by looking at these new maps that it doesn’t take very long to evacuate out of a hazard area.”

Now in order to indicate a tsunami there are two different ways to find out.

An official warning from the National Tsunami Warning Center in Alaska is one way. Another way is natural warnings: if you feel a long earthquake and see a sudden rise and fall from the ocean, that will also give off a loud roar.

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Karl Cooke

Karl Cooke is a Multimedia Journalist for KION News Channel 46

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