After that ‘unscheduled tsunami test,’ is O.S. ready for the big wave?

Saturday’s underwater volcano eruption off Tonga led to tsunami watches and up and down the West Coast, including Ocean Shores. Is the city any more prepared for it than it was a few years ago, when Indonesia was devastated by a tsunami? Or a decade ago, when a 9.0 earthquake led to massive waves flooding Japan? Or a decade before that, when a tsunami wiped out beach towns in Sumatra…or even back to the Pat Boone days?

Over the last few years, OS City Council meetings have discussed building a tsunami-safe structure. The Ocean Shores 2040 Comprehensive Plan introduced by Mayor Jon Martin last week at least addresses the issue.

Is this the year that an “action plan” actually leads to action?

3 Comments

  1. Peter B. Jordan says:

    We are no safer now than ever. Very few other than public works employees will be able to get to the tower, it is planned to be in their yard. The roads will almost certainly fail in a near-shore event so precious few residents will even be able to get close. It is interesting to note that several local engineers, after a look at the plan, doubt that the structure will remain on top of the ground anyway as the soil will liquify during the quake. More thought should be given to retro-fitting the existing water tower in the same location to provide access to the top. There are several water towers about town, perhaps access to all of them would be about the same cost as one new one and allow closer access to more people. As to vehicle evacuation, the public employees will get notification first, the official plan is for the city equipment to be moved down the road to higher ground and invariably some panicked idiot will either stall or wreck between the gates and Hogans Corner and plug the road. The only other way out is on the same beach that is going to imminently kill you. And what a clever official route that is, the first 8 miles right along the lowlands adjacent to the beach to a site right on a lowland river channel. The reality is this, given a distant offshore quake we will have several hours to run. Given a near-shore event we will have only a very few minutes to do anything but enjoy a final drink as the road out will look like a junkyard, if it would even have a surface to drive on. My conclusion: offshore event, leave town quickly and safely. Near shore event, tell your loved ones how much you care and open that special bottle of wine you have been saving. I have grave doubts that the city will either agree with me or adopt my conclusion as the official plan, too much reality can be harmful to your health.

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    1. Anonymous says:

      great job. I do like the citys idea of the parking garage over the white elephant tower that is about worthless. Moreover, if the elephant is not maliciously maintained it will fail. I have spent over a decade on underwater and above ground metal projects and the metallurgy alone for these structures are the most important aspect to keep them from failing. So, if they skip maintenance or blow the coatings it will fail; furthermore, the wind towers on land are taken down after 20 years. the wells are made for 100 years, but I have seen the test trial run pulled after 3 years and it looked bad with 85 percent of the surface coating gone. great post and thanks

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  2. Peter B. Jordan says:

    Ocean Shores skip maintenance? But they have done so well on maintaining the roads, the waterways, convention centers, buildings and various vehicles! For 50 years the practice has been to build new, promise to maintain, and not follow through. I do not anticipate change.

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