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Laguna Beach Safe From Tsunami Danger After New Zealand Quakes

Patch logo Patch 3/4/2021 Ashley Ludwig
a sign on a wooden pole: Though Laguna Beach is not at risk from Thursday's New Zealand earthquakes it's a good time to remind your neighbors about how to keep safe. © City of Laguna Beach Photo, Jordan Villwock Though Laguna Beach is not at risk from Thursday's New Zealand earthquakes it's a good time to remind your neighbors about how to keep safe.

LAGUNA BEACH, CA — Laguna Beach will not face tsunami danger from the powerful earthquakes that struck Thursday off New Zealand's coast.

Tsunamis are a real danger for those along the California coastline. Tsunamis, a series of waves or surges most commonly caused by an earthquake beneath the seafloor, can put oceanfront communities at risk. On Thursday, three powerful southern hemisphere quakes registered magnitudes of 7.3 and 7.4, according to the U.S. Geological Survey.

Around midday, Thursday, a more powerful temblor measuring 8.1 in magnitude occurred.

California's favored—yet retired—USGS Seismologist Lucy Jones shared that the tsunami was unlikely to be an issue in California. "We really are too far away," she wrote on Twitter.

She noted that the 2011 Japan earthquake that prompted a local tsunami warning was a 9.0-magnitude shaker "that moved over 30 times more water than this event."

In Laguna Beach, a reminder on tsunami preparedness plans is never a bad idea.

When the National Tsunami Warning Center sends out an alert to local and state officials, it comes in three levels:

  • Watch (lowest level, monitoring)
  • Advisory (mid-level, the threat of a potential tsunami)
  • Warning (highest level, the threat is imminent).

During tsunami alerts, the protective action communicated is always to “seek higher ground” and leave low-lying areas and beaches immediately.

The local "inundation zones" are the areas North of Aster, south of Legion, and north of Forest/Broadway (for downtown), and out of the Aliso Beach and Victoria Beach areas (for south Laguna).

In the event of an emergency, the city's mass notification system, such as AlertOC (, would be activated to make a notification to the public.

The U.S. National Tsunami Warning Center said the original quakes did not generate any tsunami threat for California, Oregon, British Columbia, Washington, or Alaska.

Following the 8.1 quakes, the center announced it evaluated the tsunami threat, but no warnings for the U.S. coast were immediately issued.

The center indicated that hourly updates would be posted.

The National Weather Service has certified 165 sites as "Tsunami Ready," including Orange County, Laguna Beach, Dana Point, San Clemente, Seal Beach, and Huntington Beach.

All residents should sign up for the county's Alert OC, the county's advanced warning system.

City News Service contributed to this report.


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