Could an earthquake in the Pacific Northwest mirror the earthquake that has impacted the Canterbury region of New Zealand last week?
The New Zealand Earthquake is very indicative of the damages we could expect following a Cascadia event and even an inland earthquake. Believe it or not, we are extremely similar in climate and natural hazards. Both areas are susceptible to flooding, winter storms, high wind and surf events, volcanoes, tsunami and earthquakes (although more frequent in New Zealand, 14,000 compared to 1000 for Washington State). The Cascadia fault for New Zealand is on the East coast and ours is along our West coast, both along the Ring of Fire.
If the same earthquake impacted the Pacific Northwest, could we expect many of the same issues? Will time lines for restoration of communications, power and water in the region be longer, due to the fact that the main infrastructure is not centrally located in most areas as it was in the City of Christchurch? Will the fact that our highways, roads, cities and towns are built along identified liquefaction and landslide areas, impact us far greater than in the Canterbury region of New Zealand? Are we ready as an entire community to deal with the personal stress issues of not only a severe earthquake, but hundreds of aftershocks, landslides, loss of our homes, places of employment and communication?
The link below provides great insight via pictures and video links to the recent issues in New Zealand and what may possibly occur in the Pacific Northwest following a major earthquake event.
One of the greatest concerns in New Zealand at this time, are major landslides preventing traffic flow in and out of small cities and towns. They may take weeks and months to clear. Landslides will become a large problem following a major earthquake in our region. The damages may prevent our citizens from leaving specific areas, while preventing emergency responders, food, water and assistance from entering areas of greatest need by ground transportation.
No one can predict what will happen in a major earthquake event, but we can prepare ourselves. Chances of surviving a major earthquake are far greater than not. Those prepared, reduce the impact of the event upon their family, pets, business and community significantly.
Washington State has recently indicated citizens should prepare to be on their own for 14 or more days following any disaster event. Become pro-active; learn what to do before, during and after any natural disaster event. Contact your local emergency management office for more information.
This message was provided by Charles T Wallace, Deputy Director Grays Harbor County Emergency Management, 310 W. Spruce Street Montesano, WA, 98563 (360) 964-1575 - office (360) 580-2281 - cell.