Rebuilding the Crescent City harbor
On March 11, 2011, a tsunami triggered by a magnitude-9.0 earthquake off the coast of Japan caused millions of dollars in damage to the Crescent City Harbor. Now, the rebuilding — with new protections — begins.
- The new infrastructure will be able to withstand the strongest tsunami that has a 2 percent chance of occurring any year during a 50-year timeframe.
“A 2 percent occurrence has a (wave) height of about 15-feet,” Crescent City engineer Ward Stover said.
- In Crescent City on March 11, 2011, waves crushed boats and swept away most of the harbor’s docks. Despite warnings, a total of seven people were swept out to sea between Northern California and Southern Oregon. One man was killed.
- Geology plays a large role in Crescent City's vulnerability to tsunamis. National Weather Service spokesman and meteorologist Troy Nicolini said the harbor’s shape and design — with steep rock walls — traps wave energy, causing them to bounce around rather than break up. The harbor has been hit repeatedly, including the devastating 1964 tsunami that killed 11.
- Even the shape of the ocean floor conspires to direct waves to the Crescent City Harbor, Nicolini said.
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