What you should know about Cascadia Rising

The Cascadia Rising exercise is one week away.

The largest earthquake and tsunami exercise to ever take place along the West Coast of the U.S. will begin on Tuesday, June 7, 2016. It will simulate a complete rupture of the Cascadia Subduction Zone Earthquake Fault which is situated 100-150 miles to the West of the Coastline in the Pacific Ocean. The fault extends 620 miles from Cape Mendocino, California to Northern Vancouver Island, B.C.

The exercise earthquake will be a magnitude 9.0 and will be followed by aftershocks causing major damage to homes, communities, industry, roads and utilities throughout Western Washington.  The resulting tsunami (multiple waves) will seriously impact all coastal areas.

The event will kick off on the morning of Tuesday, June 7th, 2016 and reflect the first four (4) full days following a real Cascadia Earthquake & Tsunami event, ending Friday, June 10th. Various entities of Grays Harbor County will be participating throughout the exercise, including our hospitals, the , the PUD, E911, all cities, many fire districts and a large contingent of amateur radio operators. Most individuals in our communities will not notice this exercise is taking place.

There will also be many military response exercises which will be supported by the Grays Harbor County Emergency Coordination Center during the Cascadia Rising Exercise from June 7th through 10th including limited play during June 11th and 12th to assist joint military and civilian response operations. The military exercises will incorporate helicopter operations, decontamination exercises, disaster search and rescue exercises, and numerous communication exercises all involving local and county assistance. Military vehicles, (helicopters and trucks), will be moving throughout the county at various times during the daylight hours to simulate a response to the event.

What would happen if a real event were to take place?

ALONG THE COAST: (Moclips, , , , , , Hoquiam, Aberdeen, Cosmopolis)

There will be 4 to 6 feet of subsidence along the coast with many areas of major liquefaction affecting roadways, homes and communities. Landslides will affect all bluffs, cliffs and sloping ground. Severe weather will increase the impacts of landslide and exposure to the elements by citizens. Most roads will be unusable. Bridges may fail and those appearing fine will most likely have unusable approaches. All communications will be lost, all power lost, no cell service and no internet. Help will be 4-7 and possibly as long as 10 days away from assisting. We should expect a minimum of 4 tsunami waves affecting the coast. The first waves will impact Pacific Beach, Taholah, Ocean Shores, Westport and Grayland within 15-20 minutes following the earthquake. Aberdeen, Hoquiam and Cosmopolis have between 30 minutes to an hour before arrival of the tsunami waves impact low lying city areas including rivers and streams.  The largest wave will be @ 22-30 feet.  Additional waves may impact without the previous waves receding completely. High tide may flood areas previously dry for years to come.

Homes and infrastructure will be severely damaged including government buildings, industry, police stations, fire stations and most school buildings in the inundation zones. Food, water and medical supply deliveries will end and not resume without air support. Drinking water will be a priority!

Aftershocks will continue for months. Strong aftershocks (M.6-8) could impact over the first few days following the 9.0 earthquake.

HIGHER ELEVATIONS: (, , Lake Quinault)

Most roads will be unusable. Landslides will affect most bluffs, cliffs and sloping ground. Severe weather will increase the impacts of landslide and exposure to the elements by citizens. Bridges may fail and those appearing fine will most likely have unusable approaches. Liquefaction may appear in areas near streams and waterways. All communications will be lost, all power lost, no cell service and no internet. Help will be 4-7 and possibly as long as 10 days away from assisting. Older homes, built before 1941 may see severe damage while newer homes may survive fairly well. Viable roadways will be intermittent. Stores will not be resupplied for 30 – 45 days or more.

Food, water and medical supply deliveries will end and not resume without air support.  Older infrastructure, (government buildings, fire houses, police stations, and schools), built before 1941 could see significant damage. Homes built prior to 1995 could see minor to moderate damage. Newer homes may survive fairly well. Drinking water will be a priority!

Aftershocks will continue for months. Strong aftershocks (M.6-8) could impact over the first few days following the 9.0 earthquake.

EAST COUNTY: (, Montesano, , , Elma)

Most roads will be unusable. Landslides will affect most bluffs, cliffs and sloping ground. Severe weather will increase the impacts of landslide and exposure to the elements by citizens. Bridges may fail and those appearing fine will most likely have unusable approaches. All communications will be lost, all power lost, no cell service and no internet. Help will be 4-7 and possibly as long as 10 days away from assisting. Older homes, built before 1941 may see severe damage while newer homes may survive fairly well. Viable roadways will be intermittent. Stores will not be resupplied for 30 – 45 days or more. Liquefaction may appear in areas near streams and waterways.

Food, water and medical supply deliveries will end and not resume without air support.  Older infrastructure, (government buildings, fire houses, police stations, and schools), built before 1941 could see significant damage. Homes built prior to 1995 could see minor to moderate damage. Newer homes may survive fairly well.

Aftershocks will continue for months. Strong aftershocks (M.6-8) could impact over the first few days following the 9.0 earthquake. Drinking water will be a priority!

Citizens fleeing impacted communities and may arrive looking for food, shelter and medical attention. Responding agencies will be looking for staging areas to use for support, supplies and citizen, pet and livestock shelters.

 

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