Friday, March 11, 2011


This is a still shot from a video of some boats being swept out to sea in Brookings, Oregon.
I can't take credit for this video, as I was at work today while all this was going on.
Just a little update from our safe perch in Lost Creek, just south of Newport Oregon.
Each day as we drive up the hill to our home we pass a little sign that reads, "you are now safely above the tsunami zone: 60 feet above sea level" and there is a little smiley face on the sign.
Last night my phone rang at 1:00 am, a concerned family member calling to check on us, to give us the news. I had been asleep since 9pm, so it was very surreal and it hardly registered. Then, this morning at about 6:15am our neighbor came running (i mean really running) up to our front door in a panic, "we have to evacuate! the tsunami is hitting here in 30 minutes!!"
Next it was my father, my sister and then my boss.
My boss was calling me to tell me to come to work. Really? Yes.
Here in Newport, as with many coastal communities, we have a community disaster plan. Because I am a registered nurse, I am a key part of this plan. Any medical professional who can get herself safely to the hospital during times of anticipated, large-scale emergencies is more or less expected to be there. Today was one of those days for us at the Pacific Communities Hospital.
At 7:15am our Surgery Manager huddled us together and debriefed us about what our plan would be in case a large number of patients needed to be seen in our very small hospital. We were ready for the unimaginable. Our department had cancelled elective surgeries for the day to allow room for emergency surgeries, should they be necessary. As it turned out, we have been lucky in Newport. As of 4:30 pm today, no major damage has been reported here.
However, just north of us in Depoe Bay there has been some damage to the harbor due to surges from the tsunami. The Port of Brookings has sustained the greatest damage in Oregon, as far as we know right now.
I did venture down to the beach this afternoon to have a look at these reported surges. Indeed it is a strange thing to essentially see the beach covered, as in a very high tide, then see the water receed as far back down the beach as with the lowest tides, all in a matter of about 10 to 15 minutes. Incredible, and creepy.
We are lucky to live in a place that has had the fortune (this time) of being prepared and having the resources to alert people and evacuate areas that may have been in danger.
My sadness about what has happened to the people in Japan cannot be expressed properly in words.

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