New tsunami hazard maps highlight threat facing seven California counties — even Napa gets worried
A new set of tsunami evacuation maps highlight the threat of earthquakes from the Pacific, including those off the coast of Northern California’s Napa Valley.
The maps, produced by the Pacific Tsunami Early Warnings Center, put California’s seven coastal counties on alert for tsunami threats to come.
The maps include coastal areas where tsunamis have been reported. They also include the state’s wine country, which sits on more than 200 fault lines.
They were released Friday, one day after the first of two Pacific quakes off the coast of the state.
The maps were developed after a large tsunami struck Japan’s Chiba and Fukushima prefectures last summer. In that incident, a tsunami with a maximum of 2.6-meter (8-foot) waves roared along the coast, triggered by an earthquake off the coast of northern Honshu.
The maps are a follow-up after a second, much smaller Pacific quake hit Japan in March.
A major tsunami alert was issued after that quake, which researchers said had a potential to affect up to 60 million people. Some of the warnings have been lifted, but scientists said the latest quake may be particularly catastrophic.
“Based on the magnitude of the quake, we can make a fairly accurate prediction,” said Richard Hildick-Smith, a director of the Pacific Tsunami Early Warnings Center.
The Pacific Tsunami Early Warnings Center reports the latest Pacific earthquake, with the depth and the location. The agency also warns of the likelihood of a tsunami.
The Napa earthquake threat comes from a fault line that runs through a section of the city’s hilltop suburbs.
“The area between Napa and Yountville is a potentially tsunami-prone zone, based on the history of earthquakes in the area,” said David Zeebe, an oceanographer with the California Geological Survey in Sacramento.
Zeebe added that although the Napa earthquake itself “was not particularly severe, the shaking could be very powerful at