Tsunami signs added to coast

Those traveling San Mateo County’s coast will soon be greeted with bright blue tsunami evacuation signs.

Two types of signs — one indicating evacuation routes and the second identifying safe areas — are slated to be installed during the next several weeks, Emergency Planner Jim Asche of the county’s Office of Emergency Services said.

The evacuation route signs will be posted on State Route 1 and will lead travelers away from the coast and onto main east-west corridors such Pescadero Creek Road and State Routes 92 and 84.

The 1964 tsunami that killed 11 people in Crescent City remains the only cause of tsunami-related fatalities in the continental U.S. However, the deadly 2004 tsunami in South Asia prompted the National Weather Service to work toward being prepared for a tsunami with renewed vigor, Asche said.

A distant earthquake, such as one in Japan or Alaska, would be the most likely scenario causing a tsunami-related event, Asche said.

In that case, there would be several hours for residents to flee the coasts. Less likely is a tsunami much closer to our coast resulting from an underwater landslide or earthquake. In that event, people are urged to flee to high ground as quickly as possible.

tbarak@examiner.com

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