Tsunami barely registers in Pacific Northwest


by KING Staff and Associated Press


Posted on February 27, 2010 at 7:43 PM

Updated Saturday, Feb 27 at 8:17 PM

SEATTLE - The West Coast and Alaska Tsunami Advisory Center canceled a tsunami advisory for the coastal areas of Washington and Oregon on Saturday afternoon. NWS said tsunami waves from the 8.8 earthquake in Chile generally remained one foot or less and were expected to remain so throughout the evening.

At Ocean Shores Saturday morning, police officers were called into action to talk directly to beach visitors.

They had their hands full. Thousands came out for a razor clam dig. But by 4 p.m., most officers had stopped waving down visitors and moved their patrol cars off the beach.

In Oregon, amid the hundreds of people who walked up and down the promenade overlooking the coast at Seaside was one man on a mission.

As he approached passersby Saturday, Patrick Corcoran said "Is there anything you'd like to know about tsunamis?"

In many cases, the answer was yes. Thus began a series of impromptu lectures on big waves, subduction zones and the real tsunami danger in the Pacific Northwest: not far-off quakes, but close-up ones.

Corcoran is an education and outreach specialist with Oregon State University's Oregon Sea Grant program. He works with coastal communities on tsunami preparation.

Corcoran figured the tsunami threat would provide a "teachable moment."

The National Weather Service issued an advisory that covered the West Coast indicating a tsunami capable of producing strong currents or waves was expected. It was canceled by early evening, and amid typical swells of around 8 feet and a falling tide on Saturday afternoon, few effects from the tsunami were visible in Seaside or elsewhere in the Northwest.