Tsunami Damages Santa Cruz, Crescent City Harbors
Harbormaster: Santa Cruz Damages Estimated At $14 Million
POSTED: 7:09 am PST March 11, 2011
UPDATED: 12:10 pm PST March 11, 2011
CRESCENT CITY, Calif. -- A tsunami triggered by the massive earthquake in Japan rushed onto California's coast Friday, causing powerful surges that destroyed boat docks as beach-area residents throughout the state evacuated to higher ground.
Santa Cruz Sees 'Significant' Boat DamageThe tsunami also caused significant boat damage on California's central coast in Santa Cruz, where loose fishing boats crashed into one another and chunks of wooden docks also broke off. The water rushed out as quickly as it poured in, leaving the boats tipped over in mud. "I'm worried about the damage, not just to the boat but to the whole harbor infrastructure," said Dave Emberson, an engineer and local harbor official in Santa Cruz.Santa Cruz Harbor experienced another wave surge around 11:30 a.m., doing more damage to boats in the harbor.The harbormaster told Action News Reporter Phil Gomez that so far there's been $14 million in damage, including $10 million in infrastructure to the harbor and another $4 million in damage to privately owned boats and other property. The swells also knocked loose some boats and damaged the dock in nearby San Luis Obispo County's Morro Bay. The tsunami warning prompted voluntary evacuation orders in low-lying coastal areas throughout the state. Local officials also closed schools and coastal roads as a precaution. That didn't stop surfers from ignoring evacuation warnings and taking advantage of the Santa Cruz waves ahead of the tsunami. In Los Angeles, Coast Guard crews working to secure the Venice Pier area also had to order a handful of surfers out of the water. Darren Lee, a photographer who surfs daily in Santa Cruz, carried his board down the narrow staircase at Cypress Point about 10 minutes before the tsunami was due and paddled out to his regular spot. Immediately he could tell something was different. "It was a low tide but it felt like a medium tide. It was real bouncy. There was a lot of current," Lee said. After surfing for about a half-hour, he decided to come back in. Tsunamis, it seems, aren't conducive to good surf. "It was really inconsistent," he said, "and I was like, OK, it's like this because there's a tsunami. Now I've been there."
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