The Tsunami Warning Center (TWC) and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Department issued a Tsunami Advisory for the Los Angeles County coastline, including Malibu, following an estimated 8.9 magnitude earthquake in Japan. As a result, Southern California coastal areas should expect dangerous currents and possible tides to increase from 1 to 3 feet.
TWC strongly advised all beaches and piers should be closed.
A recorded message at Los Angeles County Lifeguards headquarters warns beachgoers to stay out of the water and off the beach and rock jetties. The Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department issued a statement stating that evacuation of the Los Angeles County coastline is not expected.
Officials at the Zuma Beach lifeguard station said beaches in Malibu are not closed. They said they have been warning beachgoers to stay out of the water and off the beaches, but some people have ignored them.
The Los Angeles County Fire Department is recording three-foot surges every 15 minutes at speeds of 10-15 miles per hour, according to spokesman Sam Padilla. Padilla said while the surges are not expected to be destructive on land, they would affect currents.
“It’s going to be creating some unstable currents that we’re unfamiliar with. That’s one of the reasons we’re advising people to stay out of the water,” Padilla said.
Padilla said the Fire Department began measuring the waves at 6:39 this morning, and will continue to monitor them until about 7:30 p.m. Friday.
Areas of Northern California have been hit hard. Eight-foot waves hit the harbor of Crescent City, near the Oregon border, destroying much of it. Four people were washed out to sea, with three hurt and one feared dead.
In Santa Cruz, waves jostled and damaged dozens of boats and broke docks. Fort Bragg, a small fishing port about 200 miles south of Crescent City, was hit by surges of water which ripped out docks and filled the water with debris.
Tsunami-related waves were scheduled to occur in San Pedro at 8:32 a.m., Santa Monica at 8:39 a.m. and Newport Beach at 8:45 a.m., according to the National Weather Service.
A Tsunami Advisory indicates that a tsunami capable of producing strong currents or waves dangerous to persons in or very near the water is expected. Significant, widespread inundation is not expected for areas under an advisory. Currents may be hazardous to swimmers, boats, and coastal structures and may continue for several hours after the initial wave arrival.
The Malibu Station Watch Commander, according to the city of Malibu, has said there are no plans to close Malibu beaches and the situation is continuing to be monitored.
The first wave and/or strong currents were expected to arrive at approximately 7:24 a.m. TWC also advised the first wave or current might not be the strongest. This event should last between 10 and 12 hours. The areas of concern and approximate wave or tide increases: Malibu .3 meters; Santa Monica .72 meters; Redondo Beach .56 meters; Los Angeles Harbor .52 meters.
The Fire Department’s Emergency Operations Bureau (EOB) has partially activated the Department Operations Center. Los Angeles County Fire Department Operations Center has been activated.