New tsunami hazard maps highlight the threat facing seven California counties

For the first time since 2009, the California Geological Survey has released new tsunami hazard area maps for Ventura, San Diego, Marin, Napa, Santa Cruz, Solano and Sonoma counties to help residents better understand the risks of a tsunami and how to best plan for one. evacuation.

In a press release, the state geological agency said the updated maps for the seven counties included new data and improved computer modeling since a previous series of maps was published 13 years ago, as well as threats from tsunamis originating far and wide. Thirteen other counties, including The angels and orangereceived new updates over the past year, according to the agency.

“The good news is that we haven’t seen large, full-scale changes on the maps,” said Rick Wilson, senior engineering geologist and head of the California Geological Survey’s tsunami unit. “It’s just a good opportunity for people to go on our website and check if their area has changed and plan accordingly.”

Although tsunamis in California are rare, the entire state’s coastline is is vulnerable to a at any given time, according to the California Governor’s Office of Emergency Services. The last tsunami to hit California was in Januaryafter a volcanic eruption in the South Pacific near Tonga sent 2-foot tsunami waves through the bay more than 5,000 miles away.

An example of the new modeling predictions shows that an earthquake off the Aleutian Islands, a cluster of islands off the coast of Alaska, could bring 18- to 25-foot swells to the Santa Cruz Boardwalk — twice as high as predictions. in 2009.

According to National Weather Service, tsunamis can travel up different bodies of water, including rivers and streams that lead to oceans, meaning they can take more momentum to flood and travel further inland than normal waves, causing more destruction. The most dangerous places to be when tsunamis strike are beaches, lagoons, bays, estuaries, tidal flats and estuaries.

Given that 26.3 million Californians living in coastal parts of the state, it is important that residents are aware of where their tsunami evacuation zones are and how they plan to get there if a tsunami hits the area.

Despite the changes to these new maps, the likelihood of these events is low, Wilson said, and the purpose of the new maps is to help Californians be best prepared in the rare event that a tsunami event occurs.

“Our goal is to ensure that coastal communities are aware of and prepared for the next tsunami,” the California Geological Survey said. “The updated Tsunami Hazard Area Maps can be used by government officials, communities and individuals/families to update or create their tsunami evacuation plans.”

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