You wanna know what scares the holy living bejeezus out of me? Tsunamis. I live about 25 miles inland from the Southern Maine coast, and it’s relatively flat land, with little terrain until you get immediately west of me. Worse yet, I work about a mile from the coast of the Atlantic ocean. If there’s a bigass tsunami headed my way M-F, chances are I won’t know much about it until I’m swimming. There’s just something about a wall of water travelling over 200mph carrying cars, houses, people, animals, trees, and other assorted yet brutal debris with it that just gets my pucker factor going. If you’re caught outdoors or in a car or really, even in a house in the path of a good ‘un, there’s really not much you can do except hope you can reach your ass and kiss it goodbye. No amount of prepping can prepare you for that, no amount of ammo and freeze-fried food in a bunker is gonna help you.
I know it’s old news, but I just came across some security camera footage from the 2011 Japanese 9.0 earthquake that caused a massive tsunami. You should definitely watch it here. According to the Wikipedia article on the earthquake and tsunami, the earthquake was the most powerful ever to hit Japan, and the fifth most powerful in recorded history. It moved the entire Japanese island of Honshu EIGHT FEET east (geocachers must have been PISSED), caused 15,884 deaths, 6,148 injured, and 2,633 people missing, along with hundreds of thousands thousands of buildings collapsed or destroyed. These were caused by the tsunami, a massive wave that reached 133 feet tall (!) and traveled many miles inland. 4.4 MILLION people were without power and 1.5 MILLION without water. (ironic, no?) There were an estimated 25 million TONS of debris in Japanese coastal towns, and they are STILL cleaning it up. Nuclear reactors were shut down, after radiation leakage. Fires were rampant.
If that’s not enough to give you the willies, check out these before and after photos of select areas in Japan; they are zoomable satellite images. You can see flooded streets, demolished houses, billions of dollars of destruction. And you know what? If you live on a coastal area, it could happen where you are, too.
So what can you do to prepare for this kind of natural disaster? Like I said, not much you can do…maybe put some water wings in your BOB and a canoe on the roof? In all seriousness, keep prepping as you normally would…except maybe keep some extra preps and important documents in watertight containers, locked in sturdy areas of your house (in a steel cabinet bolted to the concrete floor and wall of your cellar facing the coast seems like it would survive reasonably well), or possibly burying supplies would help you out hugely in this scenario, especially if you buried it deep enough to combat the natural erosion caused by millions of tons of water at high velocity.
Another option is to know your closest high ground, and keep supplies stowed away there. a couple hundred feet of elevation would do wonders for your survival chances…especially if you had water, shelter, and food stores (maybe even a firearm to fend off looters and a snorkel and goggles…seriously) to take care of you and your family for a few days. The ability to dry clothing and keep warm, even in summer months, would be tantamount, and the landscape will undoubtedly be turned into a patchwork of wrecked, soaked soil and bogged out swamps. Keep in mind that others and probably wildlife will be looking for dry high ground as well, so keep your eyes peeled for people to help and/or keep away.
Be ready to rebuild or relocate. It would be complete pandemonium, I imagine. I’m sure there would be relatively quick-responding emergency agencies, but they can’t help everyone at once. Long lines at relief centers. Squabbles turning into brawls over supplies, people wandering about, desperate, forlorn. Mothers looking for children. Children looking for parents. Everyone on the verge of panic. Doesn’t sound like fun to me at all.
Has anyone else out there thought about this specific horror of nature? What have you done to prepare for the worst nature has to offer?
Stay safe out there…and go stock up on kayaks!