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Wednesday, 15 June 2005

Everybody's Surfin', Surfin' USA

There was just a tsunami alert for northern california. Apparently, there was a large earthquake in Humboldt county, and so Crescent city was being evacuated. In the 1960's in Crescent City, there was a Tsunami so large that one of those giant cement jacks that make up breakwaters was washed onto the highway. A bunch of people died. It was the only time that anyone in the continental US was killed by a tsunami. Nobody has every been killed by one in the San Francisco area. This is background to the insanity that is/are my friendships . . .

These scene is my living room, earlier tonight. Ellen is cooking food. I'm doing French homework. Cola and Mitch are both reading. So, right at the same time, Cola's phone and Mitch's phone both ring. Danica is calling Cola about a tsunami alert and Mike is simultaneously calling for the same reason. My house is a stone's throw from the bay. I think my elevation is approximately 3 feet. I worry sometimes about global warming making the ocean levels rise and what this means for my long-term investment. After the big tsunami in asia last year, I called my dad and asked if I should be worried about them at my house. He said no, the Golden Gate is narrow relative to the size of the bay and that would prevent most of the water from getting in.

Mitch says that this is not actually a factor and he's heading up to Indian Rock. Indian Rock is a rock outcropping in the Berkeley Hills with an excellent view of the whole Bay Area. It would be well above any water line. So, um, panic ensues. Cola decides that we've got to run. Ellen grabs a cat carrier and starts stuffing my very angry cat into it. Cola grabs the dog. Somebody grabbed my tuba and all the laptops in the house and so, with me feeling extremely foolish, we jump into mitch's car and head for the hills.

Yeah, so all around us, Berkeley life is totally unperturbed. We pass a cafe full of people. Mitch is insisting that Treasure Island is being evacuated. I'm at about the same elevation, so this is all reasonable right. MY cat is yowling her damn head off. We're driving up hill for about ten minutes when the radio announces that the tsunami alert is officially cancelled. We turn around and head back. YOOOOOWWWWWWWL!

Ok, it was stupid, but I'm very annoyed. I need people to talk me out of panicking à la Chicken Little, not piling me into a car with my cat, dog, laptop and tuba, driving for higher ground. This is like last summer, when I convinced myself that I had tetanus and went to a NYC hospital . . . except this time, I wasn't the one who started it.

That cat is never speaking to me again. She shredded the hell out of Ellen's hand.

And that's why I didn't finish my french homework.

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Anonymous said...

Normal, I was kinda nervous too. I would have left also.
I was wondering how many people did such things, I am sure you aren't alone.


Anonymous said...

I didn't hear anything about this until this morning. If there had been a real tsunami, I would have been clueless until the waters flooded out my downstairs neighbors, giving them one more reason to hate me.
-- Polly

cxjo said...

from city of berkeley:

Tsunamis: A tsunami is a seismically-induced sea wave caused when an earthquake
moves the ocean floor vertically, generating waves that push water for thousands of
miles and can cause tremendous damage along the shoreline. Potential damage from a
tsunami depends greatly on the size and force of the wave. The risk of a tsunami hitting
the San Francisco Bay is estimated at 25 percent for a 20-foot wave at the Golden Gate
occurring once every 200 years. Two U.S. Army Corps of Engineers reports state the
expected 100-year run-up at Berkeley's waterfront is 6.3 feet above mean sea level,
equivalent to 9.1 feet above mean lower low water. At high tide, the run-up would be
9.4 feet above mean sea level, or 12.2 feet above mean lower low water.

i think there's about a 25% chance u will need to go at least 5 blocks up from your house, if a 20' tsunami is recorded at the gate. u will have about 4 minutes if it's still going 200 MPH... since the gate is roughly 15 mi from your house.

Crin said...

I think cxjo said, "Top of the Rock" and you just overshot a bit. Either that, or you really are all a bunch of loons :-p

Anonymous said...

I heard a great quote:

"the only normal people are people you don't know"


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