I was lamenting the fact that we’ve been having a pretty quiet January – a welcome change after the hustle and bustle of the holidays, but making it hard to find something to Blog about. I’ve been sort of hibernating, doing a LOT of knitting and hoping for snow that actually stays around so we can go out and play in it. We had one beautiful snowfall, but the temps jumped up and the pretty white turned to rain and ice.
We finally had a little Blog-worthy excitement last night. The harbor staff knocked on our boat around 0120 this morning to wake us up and tell us about an active tsunami warning. We tuned to KFSK on the radio to find the normal overnight BBC broadcast replaced by familiar (somewhat sleepy) local voices. At least one of them was awakened by rumblings from the 7.9 earthquake that was centered 175 miles SE of Kodiak.We started pinging tsunami.gov for updates, as well as some of the other NPR stations in more vulnerable communities such as Kodiak and Sitka. Note all the angry red – that’s the area of active tsunami warning immediately after the earthquake. It might be hard to spot, but I put a small white dot in our approximate position near the eastern edge of the red warning area. In theory we should be pretty well protected deep in the inner channels of the Inside Passage, but I’ve learned a long time ago that Nature makes its own rules, and it doesn’t always pay attention to “theory”.
KFSK advised us to prepare to evacuate to high ground if the tsunami siren went off. We dressed in warm clothing and made sure we had our phones, wallets and flashlights handy. We decided that we’d grab our laptops too, if we heard the siren. Fortunately it only takes a few minutes to get to higher ground – everything is uphill from the harbor.
We got the all-clear at 0320 this morning, so we went back to bed and had to read for a while until we felt sleepy again. From our perspective, our community’s response to the threat was just great, and all we lost was some sleep. We’re all so relieved that the more vulnerable Alaskan communities were spared, and we hope things stay that way.
We felt it, too, but figured we’re high enough above sea level. It would be interesting to see a science experiment to see how a tsunami on the outer coast would affect these inner channels. Sounds like a project Jim could handle.