Tsunami generates big interest but no damage at Ocean Beach
By Brian Pelletier
The 8.9 magnitude earthquake that rattled Japan late Thursday night Pacific time set off a tsunami warning for much of the California coast. At Ocean Beach in San Francisco hundreds of people gathered at the sea wall to watch the waves come in.
The San Francisco Police Department cleared the beaches and closed the Great Highway from Sloat Boulevard to Balboa Street. A reporter watched for more than an hour as huge waves pounded Ocean Beach, but people expecting mother nature to put on a massive display of destructive force were disappointed. One man proclaimed, “I’ve surfed bigger waves than these.”
The tsunami was more eventful along other stretches of the California coast. In Santa Cruz, boats were torn from their moorings and swept out to sea, while docks were ripped loose. The Santa Cruz County Emergency Operation Center issued an evacuation advisory for people with homes and businesses in the tsunami inundation zone. In Crescent City, waves smashed boats and massive harbor damage is being reported. Pacifica closed its schools for the day. In fact, coastal towns as far south as San Luis Obispo braced for possible damage.
Brian Pelletier is a journalist based in San Francisco. Follow him on Twitter.