Our Northwest

Is your home at risk for earthquake, tsunami?

Friday, April 17, 2015by  Jon Osterberg

The answer to the headline is “yes” – earthquakes can rattle any Northwest locale to some degree.
   Now, a new study addresses the feasibility of evacuating from a tsunami.
   The bad news is, if you live near the coast, your risk is high for tsunamis (obviously) and earthquakes.
   Generally, the farther inland you live, your earthquake risk lessens. Those at greatest risk for earthquakes live on the Olympic Peninsula in places like Forks and Aberdeen, and on the southwest Oregon coast near Port Orford and Brookings.
   The pattern goes like this: Aside from coastal towns, cities with the next-highest risk include Seattle, Tacoma, Olympia, Astoria, and Newport. Risk lessens along a vertical band between Bellingham, Skykomish, Portland, Eugene, and Grants Pass.
   Safer still are those living in Wenatchee, Yakima, Tri-Cities, The Dalles, and Bend. Safest Northwest locales include Colville, Spokane, Pullman, John Day, and Burns.
   Do you have relatives near Memphis? If so, they live an odd region where several states intersect in a high-risk earthquake zone. It’s sort of an anomaly, since when traveling east of the Rockies, earthquake risk tends to lessen. Check out this USGS map.
   As for the likelihood of retreating from a tsunami to high ground, a Seattle Times article says the riskiest locations include Ocean Shores, Long Beach, and Seaside.
   Of course, those living east of the Cascades face another danger altogether, thanks to our region’s prevailing southwest winds: ash fallout from an erupting volcano. Some of you remember when day turned into night as the Mount St. Helens ash cloud shrouded you.

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