Tsunami Warning Draws a Crowd

Cress Street Beach, closed to beach-goers, drew an early morning crowd eager to see tsunami waves firsthand.

Beaches reopened by midday Friday, March 11, after a precautionary closure in the early morning hours due to a statewide tsunami warning issued in the wake of a strong earthquake in Japan.

Scores of property owners inundated the Laguna Beach police station with questions about whether their property was endanger, according to a records clerk, who fielded 50 calls.

The city sustained no damage, City Manager John Pietig said in a statement.

Even so, curious residents gathered at closed beach access points along Laguna’s shoreline to see if they could spot any tsunami-driven tidal surges.

Local resident and retired lifeguard Craig Lockwood, among a group of dog-walkers and coffee drinkers watching waves at the taped off Cress Street access, said previous tsunami advisories issued for the west coast have never generated swells in south county. Santa Barbara’s Point Conception deflects quake-driven shock waves that hit northern California, he said.

Police issued a pre-dawn telephone warning to residents and businesses within a few blocks of the waterline, predicting that the quake-driven waves could arrive by 8:45 a.m. and that some areas along beaches, harbors and marinas could experience dangerous currents and tidal surges.

“A tsunami event is a series of waves that can last for several hours.  The first wave is usually not the strongest,” said the message, urging people to stay off beaches beginning at 5 a.m.




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