A tsunami could 'knock the heck out of the San Diego shoreline'

SAN DIEGO - It’s tsunami preparedness week, and San Diegans will soon find out if they’re vulnerable.

For the first time, the County Office of Emergency Services says they have pinpointed which specific addresses, homes and businesses could be at risk.
 
The 2004 tsunami that consumed a hunk of Indonesia became the focus of the chilling Oscar-nominated movie The Impossible. But, it happened, and it wiped out more than 200,000 people.
 
You probably know to get to higher ground if it happens near you, but geologist Pat Abbott says knowing the fastest way could be your best shot at surviving.
 
The county is sending out about 33,000 mailers. They’ll pinpoint homes and businesses in danger zones and highlight evacuation routes.
 
When the sea floor shifts, it triggers violent energy and forms killer waves fast.
 
“For the really huge tsunamis, like the one that happened in Japan, we have a natural defense system,” Abbott said of San Diego’s coast.

You can think about Catalina, San Clemente and the Coronado Islands as speed bumps, sucking strength out of the water. If they shift, Abbott said it could trigger a local tsunami.
 
“We could easily have a three-foot high wall of water run over Mission Beach, across Mission Bay, across Interstate 5, pushing cars off the road,” he added.
 
“They’re not going to ravage the whole Pacific Ocean, but they could sure knock the heck out of the San Diego shoreline.”
 
He said that may only happen once every couple thousand years but thinks everyone should be prepared and be aware.

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