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Are You Prepared for a Tsunami?
By Lookout Staff
March 27, 2023 -- If you feel the earth shake and hear the ocean roar, head inland or seek higher ground and follow the "Tsunami Evacuation Route" signs posted on roads near the coast.
That's the advice City Emergency Management officials are giving during Tsunami Awareness week, which lasts through the end of the month.
"Strong ground shaking, a loud ocean roar, or the water receding unusually far, exposing the sea floor are all warnings" a tsunami is coming, according to the City's tsunami page.
"If you observe any of these warning signs, immediately go to higher ground or inland," Emergency Management officials advise.
A tsunami can arrive within minutes and last for eight hours or longer, "placing those near shore in life-threatening danger," officials said.
"Even distant events can create fast waves that can travel across the Pacific Ocean and impact California's coastline."
While there is no record of a tsunami ever striking Santa Monica, a fictionalized depiction featured in a 2019 television series quickly went viral.
In the event of a real tsunami -- which can be caused by earthquakes, volcanoes, or landslides -- the City worked with state officials to develop evacuation and communication plans.
A map shows a theoretical “inundation zone” that marks the areas that would be affected by a 30-foot surge in the sea level.
Such a surge would be blocked north of the pier by the 100-foot-tall Palisades Bluffs, but dozens of single-family homes west of PCH lay within the inundation zone.
So do Ocean View Park, the Sea Colony and the twin Santa Monica Shores high-rises west of Main Street south of the pier.
The map also shows tsunami evacuation routes that are posted on signs along affected streets.
City officials advise evacuating by foot to avoid becoming snarled in traffic and to follow the evacuation routes and safe zones marked on the map.
Those who live, work or play in the hazard zone should know the evacuation routes before needing them, emergency officials said.
They also can sign up for SMAlerts that provide immediate actions to take during tsunamis and other emergencies.
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