Tsunami advisory is a wake-up call for Bay Area to be prepared for disasters, experts say

ByCornell Barnard KGO logo
Monday, January 17, 2022
Tsunami advisory scare is a wake-up call for Bay Area, experts say
The Bay Area is still reacting to Saturday's tsunami advisory which caused a lot of anxiety, a wake up call for all of us to be prepared.

SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) -- The Bay Area is still reacting to Saturday's tsunami advisory which caused a lot of excitement and anxiety. It brought high water and some damage to the region. First responders say the event was a wake up call for all of us to be prepared.

It began with the eruption of an underwater volcano in Tonga, the shockwaves were soon felt in the Bay Area. In Capitola, tsunami waves rushed in.

Big waves also crashed onto the Pacifica waterfront.

VIDEO: 'King tides on steroids': Tsunami advisory brings strong waves, damage to parts of Bay Area

Sunday's tsunami advisory got the attention of thousands in the Bay Area and left some neighbors running for safety.

In Tiburon, the tsunami surge ripped a boat dock from the front of an apartment complex sending boats spinning out of control. Panicked residents ran to safety.

Hours later, the water receded but the damage was done. Neighbors say they never expected it.

"I'll take tsunami alerts more seriously now, it was crazy," said Halee Hatlestad.

At the Berkeley Marina, more than 100 people were evacuated from their boats as a precaution.

RELATED: Bay Area Tongan community worry, waiting to hear from family, friends after Tonga volcanic eruption

"I got a message on my phone, I signed up for those alerts," said resident Diane Walton.

Thousands of people around the Bay Area received those alerts about the tsunami advisory. First responders say it helped notify the public of possible danger. Police and fire crews worked to evacuate local beaches.

"This is why pre-planning is so essential and making sure that you and your family can get out of a disaster zone safely," said SFFD Lieutenant Jonathan Baxter.

Last summer, California State Geologists released updated hazard maps, showing where 'worst case scenario' flooding from a major tsunami could impact the Bay Area. In the East Bay, the surge could reach parts of West Oakland and Lake Merritt. In San Francisco, parts of North Beach and the Financial District could be impacted.

WATCH: Videos show flooding, damage after tsunami waves hit San Francisco Bay Area

An undersea volcano erupted in near the Pacific nation of Tonga, sending tsunami waves crashing across the San Francisco Bay Area coast.

"Especially in the Bay Area, tsunami heights may not be that large but there's a potential for a tsunami to knock people down and injure them," said Rick Wilson from California Geological Survey.

San Francisco already has several tsunami evacuation routes posted.

"Having a plan saves lives," said Baxter.

Experts say during a tsunami emergency move to higher ground immediately. Get to know evacuation routes if your community has them, and have a family plan, where to meet if you get separated.