Originally published 2:17 p.m. Sept. 10.
Imperial Beach, Coronado, Mission Bay and other low-lying parts of San Diego and California could be hit by a destructive tsunami wave if a 9.1-magnitude earthquake struck off the coast of Alaska, a worst-case scenario study released last week said.
The wave may hit all of Seacoast Drive, reach a few blocks north of Palm Avenue and a few blocks into the Seaside Point neighborhood through the estuary.
The study was compiled by the U.S. Geological Survey and other government agencies and predicts the wave may take four hours to reach Los Angeles and six hours to reach San Diego. Impact could be felt as far away as Chile and New Zealand.
In Southern California the wave may range in height from 3-10 feet, according to computer models and historical evidence.
About 750,000 people would need to be evacuated throughout California. Long Beach and San Diego contain the largest population areas in Southern California that would be impacted by the wave.
Ports in San Francisco, San Diego and Los Angeles could be damaged and industry could take a $8 billion hit. One-third of all boats could also be damaged or destroyed.
The authors write that even though the report “depicts an event that will not occur exactly as presented,” they hope it will be a useful planning tool to help coastal communities prepare better warning systems, evacuation routes and land-use policies, according to the San Diego Daily Transcript.
Tsunami evacuation routes in Imperial Beach are located on Palm Avenue and Imperial Beach Boulevard. Click here to read more about Imperial Beach's tsunami evacuation plan.
Visit quake.ca.gov to see an interactive map of parts of the California coast that may inundated if ever hit by a tsunami.