NEWPORT, Ore. – The recent shift in weather will likely cause more tsunami debris to wash up along the Oregon Coast.
The March 2011 Japan tsunami pulled about 5 million tons of debris into the ocean and scientists estimate about 1.5 million of that could be headed across the Pacific.
The latest computer model shows the highest concentration of marine debris just over 1,000 miles from the Oregon coastline, and moving closer by the day.
Some items have already come onshore, including a massive dock that washed up on Agate Beach last June.
Scientists said up to now, the debris that has reached Oregon was for the most part, floating on top of the water. But the next wave of items will be heavier. And now that the winds have shifted to a more westerly flow, they can carry the underwater debris to shore.
“The winds have a greater effect on the movement of debris and because we’re going to see higher winds this time of year, we'll likely see more debris washing up on Oregon shorelines,” explained Kim Lippert, with the Oregon Office of Emergency Management.
Lippert also wanted to remind anyone who comes across mysterious debris on the beach not to touch it, for safety reasons. A hotline has been set up specifically to report tsunami marine debris. That number is simply: 211.