December 16, 2012

Tsunami threat not high, but Maine officials prepare

A federal grant will help Cumberland County be ready if an earthquake sends a tidal wave our way.

By David Hench dhench@pressherald.com
Staff Writer

(Continued from page 1)

Today's poll: Tsunamis

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FOR MORE information about the tsunami threat, go to: http://1.usa.gov/fDNK9T

"It would reach Bermuda in two hours and Maine in five or six hours," he said. "We would maybe hear from Bermuda that it really exists," and from specialized buoys in the Atlantic.

Warning systems would likely give Maine emergency responders time to move people off beaches and other low-lying areas along the coast, said Budway.

The rise might be at most 3 feet, depending on the tide, and it would go up and down for hours. Water pushing into bays and river mouths would stack up higher, increasing the damage upstream.

"The currents are what we have to be prepared for," Dickson said. "It will include water flowing up our rivers and estuaries, up the Penobscot River for example, and into Casco Bay," Dickson said.

Other areas of the East Coast would suffer much worse.

"Everything from Cape Cod south will experience higher waves and potentially much greater damage than we will in the Gulf of Maine," he said.

Other possible tsunami scen- arios include a massive landslide in the Canary Islands, sending a huge wave across the Atlantic.

Another possibility is undersea landslides in an area like Georges Bank, much closer to Maine.

The possibilities aren't just theoretical. A 20-foot-high tsunami spawned by an earthquake on Grand Banks hit Nova Scotia and possibly spilled into the Gulf of Maine in 1929, wiping out fishing villages and killing 28 people.

After the Indian Ocean tsunami in 2004, U.S. officials decided to upgrade the nation's tsunami warning system, leading to the Maine's exercises and improvements.

Staff Writer David Hench can be contacted at 791-6327 or at:

dhench@pressherald.com

 

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Today's poll: Tsunamis

Are you surprised that Cumberland County is updating its emergency management plan to include the threat of tsumanis?

Yes

No

View Results