Locals say no tsunami impact in Sequim

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Sequim Gazette

Multiple agencies are reporting little to no local impact in Sequim from tsunami waves caused by the devastating 8.9-magnitude earthquake off the eastern coast of Japan. The quake struck at 2:46 p.m. Japan Standard Time on Friday, March 11, about 230 miles from Tokyo, Japan.


Pete Tjemsland, a correspondent with Sequim’s sister city, Shiso City in southwest inland Japan, said he’s left a message with his contact there but has not had a reply yet. He read that there are communication issues with phones since the quake struck.


Locally, a tsunami advisory remains in effect from the National Weather Service, and people are encouraged to stay away from beaches and the water of the Strait of Juan de Fuca.  


The tsunami wave arrived at the Washington coast around 7 a.m. Friday morning and at Port Angeles area at 7:48 a.m.


Neah Bay had 1.3-foot waves and Port Angeles 0.9-foot waves.  

Sequim impact

In Sequim, water watchers noticed only small changes.


Kevin Ryan, manager for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Services Washington Maritime Complex, said he hasn’t received any reports or seen damage on the beach north of the Dungeness Recreation Area or at Protection Island.


He said the caretaker for Protection Island was transported off before any significant wave activity occurred.


Ryan said other coastal refuges seemed undamaged except for Brookings, Ore., which got hit slightly, and Midway Island, part of the Hawaiian Islands National Refuge Complex.


Resting albatrosses and chicks were killed there by 5-foot waves but no humans died, he said.


At the New Dungeness Lighthouse, four keepers and two workers evacuated to the top of the lighthouse for an hour.


Rick DeWitt, general manager for the lighthouse, said they didn’t see anything up there and workers didn’t notice any erosion patterns or other impact as they drove back from the light station area.


Tide data from NOAA


Sequim Marine Science Lab director Charlie Brandt said his staff cancelled a collection dive this morning due to increased currents.


“You couldn’t detect without a gauge the sea level was higher,” Brandt said. “The currents off the docks of Sequim Bay were fairly disturbed. It looked like the wind started to chop but there was no wind.”


At John Wayne Marina, boaters stayed out as usual in the morning, said Ron Amundson, marina harbor master.


“Nothing noticeable here,” Amundson said.


“We had quite a bit (of boat activity) — crabbers, dive fleet — it didn’t hinder activity until this afternoon when the wind kicked up.”

Weird waves in P.A.

The Boat Haven, the marina in Port Angeles, is showing more signs of the tsunami than Sequim.


Doug Sandau, Boat Haven marina manager, said water in the marina is dropping as much as 54 inches and then flowing back into the marina at about the same rate.


Despite the rapid change, no boats or infrastructure have been damaged,” Sandau said.


Todd Ritchie, assistant harbor master at the Boat Haven, said the surges have been happening all day but seem to be tapering off.

More information to come as available.

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