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California Suffers $50 Million In Damage

March 14, 2011

LA Times reports:

The earthquake-triggered tsunami that thrashed California’s coast Friday morning, killing one person, caused at least $50 million in damage, experts said Saturday.

Lori Dengler, a geology professor and director of the Humboldt Earthquake Education Center at Humboldt State, said the damage estimates were preliminary — and were likely to rise.

“It’s going to go up,” Dengler said. “How far up, I’m not going to predict. This is an expensive event for California.”

Officials at harbors up and down the coastline spent Saturday assessing damage from Friday’s ocean surge.

The two ports that were hit hardest were Crescent City and Santa Cruz.

The damage in Santa Cruz is estimated at $17 million, according to Port Director Lisa Ekers. She told the Santa Cruz Sentinel that 17 ships were sunk and up to 50 others were damaged.

In Santa Barbara, fierce waves turned the harbor into a tidal pool, sweeping away a barge that was used for the city’s commercial fishing operation and nearly destroying a 200-ton crane barge that became unmoored in the tumult.

“The whole harbor entrance was kind of chaotic for about five hours,” said Santa Barbara Patrol Officer Ryan Kelly. He said several boats were damaged when they collided with barges or other vessels.

In Ventura, a city sailing dock broke off and at least one boat was lost at sea, authorities said.

In Morro Bay, a dock came loose in the waves, according to Harbor Patrol Officer Cale Moore. He said the waves continued Saturday.

Related: The Age reports:
At least 35 boats have been crushed in the harbour of a northern Californian community hit by waves from the Japanese tsunami – and an official says worse is feared.

About 7000 people were evacuated from the harbour area in Crescent City, 560km north of San Francisco, emergency services manager Cindy Henderson said on Friday.

“We have at least 35 boats that have been crushed. We have boats on top of other boats,” she told AFP, adding that their last surge had registered 2.5 metres – although it had not yet breached the sides of the harbour.

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