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Japan Quake Sends Massive Surges to California

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Japan Quake Sends Massive Surges to California

Japan Quake Sends Massive Surges to California

Japan Quake Sends Massive Surges to California

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  • Transcript

An 8.1-magnitude earthquake north of Japan created a small tsunami that found its way to Crescent City, Calif. Back-to-back surges destroyed two docks and rattled nerves in the small community, which lost 11 people to a tsunami in 1964. We hear from a local emergency services coordinator, as well as a witness to the pounding.

MELISSA BLOCK, host:

News of an 8.1 magnitude earthquake striking the northern Pacific Ocean yesterday, sent warnings of tsunamis rippling across the globe. Soon after, a 16-inch tidal wave washed ashore in Japan and alarm quickly faded.

But almost 12 hours later and 4500 nautical miles away in Crescent City, California near the border with Oregon, the effects were much different.

Ms. DEBBIE MCANDREWS (Office clerk): The harbormaster was upstairs and we were down here and we noticed that the water was coming in really fast.

BLOCK: Debbie McAndrews is an office clerk for the Crescent City Harbor district.

Ms. MCANDREWS: It looked more like a rushing river coming through the channel and we just looked out and as we looked, H dock just broke to pieces and boats started floating off. And then the next surge that came in was bigger than that one and it broke G dock up. And so we have two docks that are completely destroyed and one that is really severely damaged.

BLOCK: McAndrews says there are now only four docks available to boat owners.

Del Norte County emergency services coordinator Allen Winogradov was at a meeting with local police when the phones started ringing.

Mr. ALLEN WINOGRADOV (Emergency services coordinator): The group of us basically left the meeting and went down to the harbor master and as we pulled up, we were at the mouth of the large boat basin and within about a five minute period, I was able to see the water drop about three foot. It was actually like a very fast rushing river leaving the boat basin.

BLOCK: Winogradov says Crescent City was the only California community to suffer major damage from yesterday's tsunami. And they've been there before. Back in 1964, a much larger tidal wave emanating from Alaska killed 11 people and destroyed much of the town.

Mr. WINOGRADOV: The scientists that I have talked to said that there's something out there off our coast that magnifies the tsunamis as they come into Crescent City.

BLOCK: That's Del Norte County emergency services coordinator Allen Winogradov. He says yesterday's tsunami caused several hundred thousand dollars worth of damage to the harbor in Crescent City, California.

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