Manzanita, OR. It’s quiet as the sun sets on the Oregon Coast. The National Tsunami Warning Center had issued an advisory for the Oregon and Washington coasts Saturday on January 15th after a large underwater volcano erupted near an island in the South Pacific. It happened around 8:30 p.m. Friday near Tonga, prompting tsunami warnings for the island and advisories for New Zealand, Oregon, Washington, California, Alaska, and Hawaii.

Many Oregon beaches, like this one in Manzanita, had an abundance of sea foam in the wake of the Pacific waters churning on January 15th. Sea form is created when dissolved organic matter in the ocean is churned up.

The advisory had many who live and visit coastal areas brushing up on their Tsunami preparedness plans.

Below is some information and there are links to resources that are applicable to specific areas.

For a bit of background, tsunamis are a series of waves that are generated when large earthquakes cause the sea floor to displace the water column above. These dangerous waves can be caused by coastal or submarine landslides or volcanoes, but they are most commonly caused by large earthquakes under the ocean, such as one from the Cascadia Subduction Zone. The Pacific Coast is at risk both from a local tsunami, arriving within minutes of an earthquake, and distant tsunamis, taking several hours to reach the shore.  Since 1854, 21 tsunamis have impacted the Oregon coast. The last two damaging tsunamis were in 1964 as a result of the Great Alaska Earthquake and in 2011 as a result of the Great East Japan Earthquake. It caused severe damage on the Oregon coast and contributed to the loss of lives of four people.

OEM has published a downloadable tsunami evacuation drill guidebook to help communities plan and recover from a tsunami. ( Tsunami Evacuation Drill Guidebook )

How to Plan a Community-Wide Tsunami Evacuation Drill

For information about the geologic hazards program at OEM, contact:
Althea Rizzo, Geological Hazards Program Coordinator
What to do: If you are near the ocean and feel a large earthquake, Drop, Cover, and Hold On until the shaking stops. Then walk inland and up to high ground. Do not wait for an official warning. A Tsunami could come ashore in a few minutes.
Quicklinks and Information
Check out the Preparedness Publications
Videos you can watch and share
Get prepared to be 2 Weeks Ready!
Business preparedness
  • TsunamiSafe: an OEM program to help educate visitors and the hospitality industry about the tsunami hazard on the Oregon Coast.
  • QuakeSmart
Community Preparedness