Incoming Tsunami


The Chilean tsunami is expected to reach Seattle around 4:30 this afternoon. It’s also expected to be about 6-feet high according to one source, but the BBC is saying it could be either nothing or 10 meters.

Of course, Seattle is on Puget Sound, not the Pacific Ocean. We have a huge peninsula between us and the sea, and while we get waves, their tiny little lapping waves, not the relatively strong crests you can see in a place like Ocean Shores.

So how crazy would it be to go relatively close to the water’s edge and watch the wave come in? I know better than to actually stand on the shore: six inches of running water can sweep a person off their feet and two feet of water can carry away a car. I don’t want to see my son swept out to sea, obviously.

And yeah, we do live close to the water, but well uphill. Our home wouldn’t be in any danger. We could go to either a bayside spot well over six feet above the typical waterline, or we could go to a cliff-side park at the top of a hill.

It’s something I’d like to see, and that I’d like my son to see; I just don’t want my tombstone to read “He was stupid.”

edited to add: The National Weather Service says there won’t be any tsunami in this area, only slightly higher tides and “dangerous currents”. Nothing to see here. No need to head out.

Ah well. At least this means there’s no danger to the city. Maybe we’ll find some video online to show my son what a tsunami looks like.

2 thoughts on “Incoming Tsunami

  1. James Davis Nicoll

    The rule of thumb for how far inland a wave might go is

    X = 1.0 km (h/10 meters)^4/3

    where h is the height of the wave.

    (from, I think, Glasstone)

    If it is 10 meters and if the shoreline has an absolutely average rise, then the wave could go a kilometer inland. If the shoreline is steeper than average, it might be less than a kilometer and if it is shallower, it might be more.

  2. Santa Monica is expecting a 40-inch wave, which would bring it barely over a kilometer, except that the waterline is mainly rock walls.

    Eh. I’ll just go to the park on the hill.

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