“Mitsulo Loshi, 82, and Shizula Hoshi, 65, were also among the lucky. The two women were in their shared home Friday afternoon when the earthquake hit. As a precaution, they headed for higher ground. Their house was located along the narrow valley, which concentrated the full force of the torrent that sucked away houses, car, and trees,” L.A. Times, March 10, Mark Magnier reporting from Minamisanriku, Japan.
With Japan’s tragedy fresh in my mind, and the fact I live in the canyon, I started to ponder Laguna’s Tsunami Evacuation Route. The city has deemed Laguna Canyon Road as our award winning tsunami evacuation route!
Let’s look at this logically. Visualize the coastline of Laguna: the cliffs that begin at the south end of the Hotel Laguna and the north end of Main Beach. Those cliffs continue north and south through town, dipping only in three places: Aliso Creek, Bluebird Canyon and Main Beach. Now imagine a tidal surge, a
tsunami. The water would build along the cliffs looking for the path of least resistance. Where do you think that would be? Aliso, yes, somewhat. Bluebird, not so much. Main Beach, you betcha! Look at the topography of our downtown area. The water would surge into the village directed by the higher ground above Mermaid, and the cliff to the north
of Broadway, hit the cliffs behind City Hall and, with full force, head up the canyon. The canyon road would become a death trap.
With as little as 11 to 45 minutes to respond, it seems it would be wiser to direct people to the numerous streets in Laguna that go up toward the hills and higher ground!
Just like Mitsulo and Shizula, I and my canyon neighbors will head for the hills! I suggest you do the same!
But, then what do I know. I’m just a simple canyon dweller.
Regumbah Connolly, Laguna Beach