WIND, THUNDERSTORMS AND SMALL HAIL ARE FORECAST FOR FRIDAY NIGHT AND SATURDAY
Friday, April 10, 2015
The National Weather Service in Seattle has forecast wind gusts up to 40 mph, possible thunderstorms and small hail through late Saturday night. The coast will receive the brunt of the wind gusts, however fast moving storm fronts could bring wind, thunderstorms and small hail at any time, to any location in Grays Harbor County. Grays Harbor County Emergency Management is cautioning all that heavy rain and possible hail associated with the storm fronts could create hazardous driving conditions due to reduced visibility, pooling of water and/or slick road surfaces.
Changes Made to Earthquake and Tsunami Planning Since the Japanese Earthquake and Tsunami
Last month, the anniversaries of the March 27th 1964 Great Alaska Earthquake and Tsunami, (M 9.2, which impacted Grays Harbor County), and the March 27th 2011 Japanese “Tohoku” Earthquake and Tsunami, (M9.0), passed without much fanfare. I contacted John Schelling, the Earthquake/Tsunami/Volcano Programs Manager at Washington Emergency Management Division to ask the question, “Have any changes been made to U.S. and/or Washington State planning since the Japanese earthquake and tsunami?” His response is below.
FROM GRAYS HARBOR COUNTY EMERGENCY MANAGEMENT:
Four years has elapsed since the Japanese earthquake and tsunami, I was wondering if any significant changes have been made to any U.S. planning, (or worldwide planning)? One significant change in Washington State and Grays Harbor County, is the Ocosta School District Elementary School Project where they are building the first vertical evacuation, tsunami engineered, safe haven building in North America, but have there been any other changes?
THE REPLY FROM JOHN SCHELLING:
The short answer is yes, there has been a lot that has changed. Here are a few…
Lesson from Japan: Plan for the right hazard. Japan planned for a smaller M8.2 event…and then had a 9.
In Washington: Fortunately, our paleo tsunami and ghost forest history has shown that we have had to worry about a 9.0 as well as smaller events. However, science is not a static process and new research should give way to updated hazard assessment. We have been re-examining the tsunami hazard from Cascadia and updating the coastal hazard assessments using an earthquake that generates a greater amount of slip, which makes a bigger tsunami.
Lesson from Japan: Vertical evacuation can save thousands of lives…if they are high enough
In Washington: We conducted site-specific hazard assessments for current sites proposed for vertical evacuation using a larger scenario and added additional factors of safety to account for uncertainty.
Lesson from Japan: Don’t rely on your technical warning systems to alert people as there may be issues in getting an accurate warning out before the telecommunications infrastructure is impaired.
In Washington and the US: We continue to educate coastal populations on natural warning signs of a tsunami and recommendation evacuation when people feel the ground shake. The technological system is there as a secondary source of information, if it’s available.
Lesson from Japan: Global Positioning Systems, (GPS) can help identify BIG earthquakes more quickly than traditional seismometers.
In Washington and the US: There are discussions moving forward about how to integrate GPS data into the traditional seismometer-based warning network. Additionally, Washington State is home to one of the larger GPS networks, the Pacific Northwest Geodetic Array (PANGA), which is run out of Central Washington University. For more information on PANGA go to: http://www.panga.cwu.edu/about/news/
Lesson from Japan event here in Washington: Limited English Proficiency communities may be unaware of tsunami hazard zones, tsunami warning sirens, and tsunami evacuation maps/routes given evacuations in Grays Harbor County to a local hospital
In Washington: The State Tsunami Program, in conjunction with state and local partners, including Grays Harbor County, has begun to develop a series of products and outreach materials, such as Public Service Announcements, (PSAs), in Spanish to more effectively educate local coastal populations.
WAYS TO AVOID RUMOR, MISINFORMATION AND OLD INFORMATION DURING EMERGENCY AND DISASTER EVENTS
Grays Harbor County Emergency Management Offers a Variety of Ways to Receive Severe Weather and Emergency and Disaster Information.
During emergency and disaster events, social media becomes a frenzy of information and tends to obtain a life of its own. A tremendous amount of great information is relayed through social media. At times rumor, misinformation and old information is communicated through different social media outlets, which in turn can be passed on to others by unsuspecting users of the various social media outlets.
Grays Harbor Emergency Management posts the most up to date and verified information available anywhere through all of the outlets described below. PLEASE TAKE THE TIME TO VERIFY INFORMATION BEFORE PASSING IT ON TO OTHERS.
•The quickest way to receive emergency and disaster information from Grays Harbor County Emergency Management is to follow us on Facebook and Twitter
•Twitter at: https://twitter.com/ghcdem
•Facebook at: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Grays-Harbor-County-Emergency-Management/426601594068767
•You can follow the Grays Harbor County Emergency Management Website at: http://www.co.grays-harbor.wa.us/info/DEM/Index.asp
•We recommend all citizens sign up for the Grays Harbor County Notification System for emergency and disaster alerts from Grays Harbor County Emergency Management via phone call, text and e-mail. You must voluntarily sign up for the notification system to receive the alerts at: http://www.co.grays-harbor.wa.us/info/DEM/EMailTWS.asp
•All Grays Harbor County citizens are urged to obtain an All Hazard ALERT Weather Radio for immediate alerts for severe weather and disaster information.
•Remember, television usually DOES NOT broadcast the correct emergency information for your site specific location in Grays Harbor County.
•All local AM/FM radio stations will transmit the most up to date information from Grays Harbor Emergency Management.
•You can also receive an informational e-mail from Emergency Management on a one to two day basis with information on world disaster events, new information on natural hazards and general preparedness issues. To be added to our e-mail list, send your name and e-mail address to: email@example.com