Huge news of something beyond control

Today's news about the gigantic earthquake in Japan is so huge that I could barely get the San Francisco Chronicle main page to open.There are Tsunami warnings for the entire Bay Area, and reports of jammed bridges which head East. 

Whether a killer Tsunami will actually strike San Francisco is debatable, but if it happens, it would be between 11:00 and 11:30 a.m. EST today:

Waves are predicted to hit the western coast of the United States between 11 a.m. and 11:30 a.m. EST Friday. Evacuations were ordered in parts of Washington and Oregon, and fishermen in Crescent City, Calif., fired up their crab boats and left the harbor to ride out an expected swell. A tsunami in 1964 killed 11 people in Crescent City.

It was the second time in a little over a year that Hawaii and the U.S. West coast faced the threat of a massive tsunami. A magnitude-8.8 earthquake in Chile spawned warnings on Feb. 27, 2010, but the waves were much smaller than predicted and almost no damage was reported.

Scientists acknowledged they overstated the threat but defended their actions, saying they took the proper steps and learned the lessons of the 2004 Indonesian tsunami that killed thousands of people who didn't get enough warning.

I guess we'll know soon enough.

Meanwhile, Glenn has a roundup of pictures and links, and stresses the importance of being prepared.

It is important to be prepared.

Catastrophe can strike suddenly anywhere, as if from nowhere.

And I like to whine about snow...

(It is in need of shoveling as I write!)

MORE (2:14 p.m.): The Tsunami watch is over. Other than a minor brush, not much of anything happened on the West Coast.

posted by Eric on 03.11.11 at 10:22 AM


Hey Eric, it'd be really good to get Simon to chime in here, since he's got good contacts with the nuke industry. The media is reporting Clinton's comment about the Air Force flying in water for Fukushima Daiichi, which seems pretty ridiculous to me.

Naturally, the MSM has swallowed the whole story and are running around like decapitated chickens (and demonstrating approximately the same level of cognition).

Best I've been able to find so far is this from World Nuclear News:

Later, Tokyo Electric Power Company (Tepco) reported that emergency diesel generators started as expected at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant, but then stopped after one hour, leaving units 1, 2 and 3 with no power for important cooling functions. This led the company to notify the government of an 'emergency' situation, which allows local authorities to take additional precautionary measures. An evacuation has been ordered of over 1000 people living within three kilometres, while engineers worked to restore power.

Almost nine hours later, an announcement from the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry said that three of four mobile power supplies had arrived at Fukushima Daiichi and cables were being set up to supply emergency power. Other power modules were in transit by air.

However, pressure inside the containment of Unit 1 at Fukushima Daichi had been steadily increasing over the time that emergency core cooling systems have not been active. Tepco reported at 2am that pressure had increased beyond reference levels but was within engineered limits.

The company then announced a decision to reduce the pressure within containment "for those units that cannot confirm certain level of water injection" by the safety systems. "We will endeavor to restore the units and continue monitoring the environment of the site periphery."

I could believe that the Air Force had brought in mobile power cells, but that's not what's being reported. The anti-nuke crowd is going to screech about this just as fast as they can get their hands unwrung...

TheRadicalModerate   ·  March 11, 2011 2:58 PM

Jeez, jammed bridges? Someone really needs to tell these people that they aren't in Florida and that the deep drop off of the Continental shelf just offshore cuts the legs out from under the waves. Care is to be taken in harbors, tidal basins and in the Crescent City area, which is historically the hardest hit on the West Coast.

But let's turn our concern to Chile and Peru who could see some big waves tonight nearly a day after the quake. The energy is focused that way and historically, they've had bad experiences with Tsunami.

JKB   ·  March 11, 2011 4:56 PM

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