It has been close to a year since people in the Northwest were informed that everything they know and love west of I-5 will be unrecognizable when the next high-magnitude earthquake rattles unleashes its fury. Time could have helped quell some of the anxiety, but folks have not put it entirely out of their minds.
John Vidale, professor at the University of Washington and director of the Pacific Northwest Seismic Network, recently explained that he still hears folks talking about it. “Pretty much” the whole country saw the article by Kathryn Schulz, Vidale included.
And that isn’t too shocking.
Citing FEMA, the article published in The New Yorker on July 20, 2015, documented that 13,000 people will die and nearly 30,000 will be injured in an earthquake with a magnitude of 8.7 to above 9.0. If that isn’t enough to grab your attention, Schulz included that the “region will be unrecognizable” by the time a mega-quake is done shaking and the ensuing tsunami has receded. The article later won a Pulitzer.
A 9.0 magnitude earthquake along the Cascadia Subduction Zone and the resulting tsunami is the most complex disaster scenario that emergency management and public safety officials in the Pacific Northwest could face. Cascadia Rising is an exercise to address that disaster.
June 7th to 10th, 2016 Emergency Operations and Coordination Centers at all levels of government and the private sector will activate to conduct a simulated field response operation within their jurisdictions and with neighboring communities, state EOC’s, FEMA, and major military commands.
Conducting successful life-saving and life-sustaining response operations in the aftermath of a Cascadia Subduction Zone disaster will hinge on the effective coordination and integration of governments at all levels – cities, counties, state agencies, federal officials, the military, tribal nations – as well as non-government organizations and the private sector. One of the primary goals of Cascadia Rising is to train and test this whole community approach to complex disaster operations together as a joint team.
Recent subduction zone earthquakes around the world underscore the catastrophic impacts we will face when the next CSZ earthquake and tsunami occurs in our region: Indonesia (2004): Magnitude 9.1 — 228,000 fatalities Chile (2010): Magnitude 8.8 — 500 fatalities Japan (2011): Magnitude 9.0 — 18,000 fatalities
“It was packed with great details and narrative,” Vidale stated. “But some of the impressions people got really made them worry and a lot of them weren’t warranted.
“I’m surprised anyone lives here after that,” he mocked.
On the doorstep of the anniversary of the fear-inducing article by Schulz, FEMA is organizing a four-day event for all levels of government and the private sector. Emergency Operations and Coordination Centers will conduct simulated field responses within their jurisdictions between June 7-10.
According to CBS NEWS, scientists they say it’s a question of when — not IF — a devastating earthquake, followed by a huge tsunami, strikes the continental United States, right in the Pacific Northwest. It’s a threat the government says it’s taking seriously.
The FEMA exercise is called “Cascadia Rising!”
June 7-10, 2016 Emergency Operations and Coordination Centers (EOC/ECCs) at all levels of government and the private sector will activate to conduct a simulated field response operation within their jurisdictions and with neighboring communities, state EOCs, FEMA, and major military commands.
Read More: https://www.fema.gov/cascadia-rising-…
“Recent subduction zone earthquakes around the world underscore the catastrophic impacts we will face when the next CSZ earthquake and tsunami occurs in our region” FEMA publishes on its website. The agency says that 3 huge quakes in recent memory killed thousands, which include: magnitude-9.1 in Indonesia in 2004 (228,000 fatalities); magnitude-8.8 in Chile in 2010 (500 fatalities); magnitude-9.0 in Japan in 2011 (18,000 fatalities).
The fault that could, potentially, trigger a magnitude-9.0 quake in the Pacific Northwest would, as outlined by scientists, come from the Cascadia Subduction Zone. Cascadia is an 800-mile long fault from B.C. to Northern California. The last major quake and tsunami from the fault took place more than 300 years ago.
Just a Heads up to a huge Earthquake and Tsunami Exercise going down in 2016.
The culminating event in the exercise series will be a 4-day Functional Exercise to occur June 7-10, 2016, in which Emergency Operations Centers (EOCs) at all levels of government and the private sector will activate to coordinate simulated field response operations both within their jurisdictions and also with neighboring communities, the Oregon ECC, FEMA, and major military commands.
Regardless of the planned exercises, there have not been many – if any – notable earthquakes in the region. Strange that FEMA is hosting a four-day event for all levels of government and the private sector
here. A magnitude-4.8 shook B.C. near Victoria. Other nerve-rattling quakes – which Vidale assures us are not deserving of worrying about – included some that the USGS reported were “steadily increasing” under Mount St. Helens.
Though the possibility of a mega-quake shaking the region into an unrecognizable state is modest, FEMA and other state and government agencies encourage folks to prepare. But just because folks are preparing, does not mean we should obsess over it. In a previous interview with University of Washington Seismologist Bill Steele, Steele stated the concept that “everything west of I-5” being destroyed is a bit of an exaggeration. Sure, there will be pockets of severe damage, but it most likely won’t kill 13,000 people, he stated.
Feel free to leave a comment. We would like to know what you think.