Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Earthquakes, Waves & Mother Nature

Epic winter wave overtaking the OB pier looking north towards the pier! This awesome pic was taken the week my apartment flooded back in mid-January by a San Diego UT photographer documenting the storm that hit the OB area.

Tsunami evacuation route sign on the beach looking east from the street just south of Long Branch Avenue (my street). This pic was taken (by me) on Sunday, February 28th, two days after the Chile earthquake and one day after a mild tsunami hit the SoCal coastal areas on Saturday, the 27th.

Hi Everybody,

Wow, 2010 has gotten off to a shaky start, huh? Between the destructive earthquakes in Haiti and Chile, I can tell you, I'm sure most of SoCal is on edge as to whether their quakes will trigger some major activity here as well! Back in November 2009, the San Diego/Imperial County/Northern Baja section of Mexico areas experienced a series of moderate quakes. The two that hit the area in November were strong enough to literally sway the high rises here in downtown SD; as well as cause the office doors in our suite on the 15th floor to swing to and fro and create some serious squeaking and popping of the building during the shaking...very scary!

Just when I thought that earthquakes and winter storm flooding were all that we had to put up with here in coastal SD, we got our first tsunami advisory this past weekend (in decades as to what I've learned) as a result of the Chilean earthquake. Yes, the tsunami reached SoCal shores; thankfully, not nearly as powerful as the forecasters expected. La Jolla, here in SD, Huntington Beach in Orange County, Santa Monica in L.A., and some portions of Ventura County saw some surge in the sea level and minor flooding. Again, thankfully no significant damage, except for the OB pier, which had about 100 feet of railing damaged from the weekend storm/tsunami generated waves.

Just to give you an idea of the power of the wave action, I would say the distance from the bottom of the pier to the sea surface is about 20 feet--the swells this past weekend (and the week OB flooded) were about 10-15 feet, which resulted in 12-20 foot-high waves; some of which (as you can see by the first pic) were high enough to breach the top of the pier! Needless to say, I didn't see any surfers out the day after the quake/tsunami. The pier is currently closed for repairs, but I'm sure will be back in action well before the start of the summer/tourist season.

As a SoCal native and a witness to the '71 Sylmar quake (as a sleeping baby according to my mom), the '87 Whittier quake, the '94 Northridge quake (by far the most terrifying I've ever experienced), the '07 fires in SD County, and this latest incident--my respect for the power of the earth, at it's most violent and natural at the same time, grows tremendously!

One Love.


Andy, Beth and Jennah, too! said...

holy sh-moley!! I'm beginning to think Fresno isn't such a bad place. I think I'll take the 100 degree days over tsunami warnings, flooding, and quakes... ANY day! I'm not so big on the shock (no pun intended) factor. I like being "forgotten" by Mother Nature. I'm dull like that. Glad that you're alright... and staying busy :)

Grammie Norie and Poppy Vern said...

Ditto Beth....Glad to hear you are doing well....and yes, Mother Nature is in charge...along with Father Nature (-:

Gary Adams said...

Hi Andy, Beth and Jennah,

I agree with you 100%! I'm not so big on the shock factor either! I used to question the sanity of folks who live in areas of SoCal like Malibu and the OC foothills with their ocean views who decide that they want to stay in the area and rebuild after natural disasters like fires and mudslides!

Luckily, what's happened down here in SD between the fires, floods, quakes and tsunami action in such a short period of time is rare. However, coming home to a view of the beautiful, blue Pacific Ocean after work has some very magical qualities and makes it worth living here... I equate it the love parents have for their children. I'll never understand that since I don't have kids; but I can absolutely identify with people in SoCal who appreciate the beauty of the area despite the risks of living here.