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L.A. County supervisors to consider motion to explore tsunami siren warning system

March 28, 2011 | 12:48 pm

The harbor at Crescent City on March 12.

Two Los Angeles County supervisors are interested in developing an emergency siren warning system along the Southern California coast to warn the public about incoming tsunamis.

Supervisors Zev Yaroslavsky and Don Knabe have introduced a motion to ask the county Office of Emergency Management about the feasibility of developing a tsunami emergency siren warning system.

Supervisors are scheduled to vote on the motion Tuesday.

Experts say Southern California could see significant tsunamis caused by a faraway quake off Alaska or by undersea landslides spurred by earthquakes off California’s shore.

John Orcutt, a geophysics professor at Scripps Institution of Oceanography at UC San Diego, has previously told The Times that people on beaches or living near the coastline should immediately head to higher ground after an earthquake as a precaution against tsunamis.

Crescent City, Calif., near the Oregon border, which has a history of damage from tsunamis, had tsunami sirens sound on March 11, hours before the first damaging waves generated by the magnitude 9.0 earthquake in Japan hit the harbor.

That town appeared to be successfully evacuated, although one man who violated the evacuation order to take photographs of the incoming tsunami drowned.

Other municipalities are reviewing tsunami warning systems after the March 11 tsunami, which caused $44 million in damage in California, mostly in Crescent City and Santa Cruz harbors.

The Santa Barbara County Office of Emergency Services said Friday that it was installing 150 signs warning beach and coast visitors that they were entering a tsunami hazard zone.


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-- Rong-Gong Lin II

Photo: The harbor at Crescent City on March 12, one day after it was struck by a tsunami caused by the earthquake in Japan. Credit: USCG Petty Officer 1st Class J.J. Winston / EPA