On this day 50 years ago, the largest recorded Earthquake in North American, measuring 9.2, struck in Alaska. it caused huge deformations in Alaska, including Anchorage.
It sent a Tsunami that wiped out much of low lying Port Alberni. It was totally unexpected, and struck around midnight so the fact there were no deaths is a near miracle.
My 6yr old son declared a few days ago when we were chatting about this that if there is an earthquake then we all have to go to the hospital because that’s a safe place and it’s high up. I don’t know if he would be so clear minded after 3 minutes of shaking from a major Cascadia Subduction Zone earthquake off our shore but it’s at least encouraging he’s got the right idea. There will be drills this morning and an event down at the Maritime Discovery Centre commemorating the day. Check the newspapers or the Peak for details.
The Peak reported this morning that we have a 1 in 9 chance of seeing that major earthquake, and likely resulting Tsunami in the next 50 years. You’d play the lottery on those odds.
There was no video taken of the Tsunami in 1964 of course. So it is a little hard to imagine just what it would look like. However, we do have other examples that we can look to. The most obvious, and most similar, is the 2011 Japanese Earthquake and Tsunami. The video below is, I think, the best example of what would happen here. It looks like a town similar in size, and geography. As was the case here apparently in 1964, it was the second wave, not the first, that brought the greatest damage. So I recommend watching the whole thing.
And here is another from ground level in a different town. Obviously these people thought they’d be fine… they were wrong. (Skip to 3min in if you want to speed things up)
Unlike this Japanese town, Port Alberni has no sea walls that would protect itself even from a small Tsunami, let alone a massive one like this one, or the one we would receive from The Big One. So our only escape, once the shaking stopped, would be to get to high ground within 10 minutes. The Tsunami would start within 15 minutes. Note the lucky individuals in this video are likely in a concrete multi-storey building that obviously could withstand the wave. We have no such structures in our Tsunami zone. It does make me wonder just how much our government believes we are willing to allow to be washed away and destroyed given our obvious risk to this kind of disaster.
Preparation is key. And in the event of a disaster, you would be on your own for as long as a week or two weeks before help arrived in earnest. This website likely would not be running, so sorry, you are truly, on your own. 😉
It’s already raining and it’s going to keep right on raining all day Friday. The weekend will be pretty showery and wet too but not too bad.
We should get some relief Monday. The charts below show it is supposed to be well over 10°C and partly sunny.