Image: Sounder Bruce
Monday, The New Yorker released a story online about the impending earthquake that will (eventually) happen in the Pacific Northwest. The gist? Not good. Not good at all.
Kenneth Murphy, who directs FEMA's Region X, the division responsible for Oregon, Washington, Idaho, and Alaska, says, "Our operating assumption is that everything west of Interstate 5 will be toast." In the Pacific Northwest, everything west of Interstate 5 covers some hundred and forty thousand square miles, including Seattle, Tacoma, Portland, Eugene, Salem (the capital city of Oregon), Olympia (the capital of Washington), and some seven million people. When the next full-margin rupture happens, that region will suffer the worst natural disaster in the history of North America. Roughly three thousand people died in San Francisco's 1906 earthquake. Almost two thousand died in Hurricane Katrina. Almost three hundred died in Hurricane Sandy. FEMA projects that nearly thirteen thousand people will die in the Cascadia earthquake and tsunami. Another twenty-seven thousand will be injured, and the agency expects that it will need to provide shelter for a million displaced people, and food and water for another two and a half million. "This is one time that I'm hoping all the science is wrong, and it won't happen for another thousand years," Murphy says. Good luck with all that, Bertha.
Of course, this isn't entirely news to Seattleites. We've been hearing about the potential for a catastrophic earthquake for some time. It's a big part of why the Alaskan Way Viaduct is (eventually) coming down. Maybe you wanna hurry up with that, guys.
What can you do? Well, if you suddenly feel a bit wobbly and your dog starts barking, try to find shelter in your home. Other than that, we'll see you on the other side, which will apparently be shifted westward by about a hundred feet.
· The Really Big One [NYer]
· Is Seattle Ready To Deal With a Major Earthquake? [CS]
· If you think New Yorker's earthquake story is scary, better read this [ST]