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Tsunami Warning, San Francisco, California

March 11, 2011, by Ken Jorgustin

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The San Francisco Bay area, California is scrambling to prepare for a Tsunami of unknown proportions as it streaks across the Pacific Ocean at 500 mph following a devastating magnitude 8.9 earthquake off the coast of Japan which triggered an astonishing 23 foot tall tsunami there.

Evacuations are occurring all over the bay area in low lying regions, schools have closed and many roadways are clogged with traffic. Ferry service has been canceled from Vallejo to San Francisco (on the bay side). While directing traffic, police are also dealing with those that are flocking TO the beach areas to watch the spectacle, should it occur.

The wave has reportedly just hit Crescent City, California, according to local news reports, and is reportedly up to 6 to 7 feet in height.

People are hunkered down in a Red Cross shelter in Half Moon Bay, near Monterrey / Santa Cruz, while waiting for what comes next. 6,600 residents were evacuated in Santa Cruz.

Having worked in San Francisco for many years, I know there are many parts of the city that are just feet above sea level, although most of those areas are on the ‘bay side’, meaning that high water would have to surge through the Golden Gate to a great degree.

Evidently, the bay area is currently at ‘low tide’, which is good news for them.

Updates to follow…

Santa Cruz harbor received three wave surges after the breakwater had first receded, exposing the sand beneath while  many boats were left lying on their keels high and dry. Shortly afterward, the water rushed back in, boats were torn from their moorings and other boats washed up onto docks. Locals reported the surge to be 2 to 3 feet in height and were very surprised how quickly it tore through the harbor as it funneled from the lower harbor are to the shallower upper harbor.

Tsunami images, Santa Cruz Harbor

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Santa Cruz Harbor Tsunami Video
Santa Cruz Harbor Tsunami Video
credit: abc NEWS


Surfers are observed on local television, out in the waves at the Golden Gate bridge, south tower, as they ride the last of the waves of the tsunami surge itself. The worst of the event appears to be over.

Tsunami Warning, National Weather Service, San Francisco

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Tsunami Warning Map of San Francisco, California

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Tsunami wave builds up as it rises up an undersea ridge from deep to shallow waters

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