Tsunami alert passes without incident along coastline

A tsunami alert passed without incident along the Marin County
coast Friday morning as officials reported a small tidal surge but
no damage.
A tsunami alert passed without incident along the Marin County coast Friday morning as officials reported a small tidal surge but no damage.

The tidal wave warning was issued after a massive 8.9 earthquake that killed hundreds in Japan.

No evacuations were ordered in Marin, although officials monitoring the situation advised residents in Muir Beach, Stinson Beach, Marshall and Bolinas to move to higher ground. Officials spread word of the warning door-to-door along the beach at Seadrift in Stinson Beach, and at Lawson’s Landing at Dillon Beach, but no one was ordered to leave.

County schools chief Mary Jane Burke reported that schools were closed in the Bolinas-Stinson district, but classes elsewhere across the county continued as usual.

Officials girded for the first in a series of waves at 8:30 a.m.

“We haven’t heard about anything significant” happening as a result of tidal action, said Janell Myhre, Marin emergency services coordinator, at 8:45 a.m.

By 11 a.m. there were just “small surges, and no damage” at Stinson Beach, reported firefighter Pat Norton.

No major damage was initially reported as 7-foot waves hit Maui in Hawaii, where coastal residents fled to higher ground. Boats were damaged in Crescent City, and minor wave damage also was reported in Santa Cruz.

In the Bay Area, officials expected “a 3-foot swell back and forth throughout the day,” said Coast Guard firefighter Jordan Akiyama, but the swell turned out to be less than that.

Steven Fracolli, director of the Marin County Office of Emergency Services, said Marin officials convened just after midnight to assess the situation.

“The public is advised to stay off the beaches, out of the water and secure personal watercrafts between 7:30 a.m. and 8 p.m. today. Tidal surge inside the bay is not expected to be as significant as at the coastline, however boaters and the public should stay inland and off the bay waters during this time,” an emergency services statement said early Friday.

Officials noted that an initial, small tidal surge sometimes is followed by bigger waves, but by midday none occurred.

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