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New Tsunami Maps for Oregon Coast


   The good news is that new tsunami maps have been released showing potential impacts from both local and distant earthquakes/tsunamis. The bad news is that the impact is far more severe than previously indicated.

Of local interest is the fact that the area including Lakeside has not yet been mapped.

However, the sections below and above the area indicate that Lakeside  is at risk both for local and distant earthquakes and tsunamis.

One of the surprises on the map is how far inland from the Oregon coast the impacts from a distant earthquake or tsunami can be felt.

Take Coquille. The map shows the bright yellow of local impact traveling in from Bullards Beach flowing in through the Coquille River and inundating the low lying area from Leneve through Coquille and south.

The orange representing the impact from distant earthquake/tsunamis snakes over the top of the yellow along the Coquille River through Coquille.

The same inland impacts can be seen pouring into North Bend through the low areas around the Southwest Oregon Regional Airport and into North Bend, Coos Bay, Bunker Hill, Libby, Millington and up the lower parts of the Allegany.

The mapped area immediately North of the Lakeside area shows projected inundation of Winchester Bay, Reedsport and on up into Florence and north to Heceta Beach.

The diagrams make it clear that the inundation will continue to travel up the Smith River and the Umpqua River although both areas are shown as unmapped.

The site clearly states, “The entire Pacific coast including Puget Sound, are vulnerable to DISTANT (sic) tsunamis even if not depicted on this map. Sections of the coast marked by diagonal lines are currently unmapped, but are also vulnerable to tsunamis – Be vigilant and know what to do when at the coast.”

Local maps of inundation areas can be found at www.oregontsunami.org. These maps can be printed and include the areas of Gardiner, Reedsport, Winchester Bay, Salmon Harbor, Coos Bay, Charleston and more. Unfortunately, there is no map for the Lakeside area as it has not been mapped yet.

These are the second generation of tsunami maps. The first were developed beginning in 1995, based on the impact for a local tsunami. This second generation includes the impact of both a local and a distant tsunami event and was made possible with new technology developed after 2004.

The unmapped areas, including Lakeside, Smith River, and the Umpqua River, east of Reedsport are expected to be finished by the end of 2013.

The maps were developed by the Oregon Department of Geology and Mineral Industries, the Oregon Emergency Management, the Washington Department of Natural Resources, and the Washington Emergency Management.