Disasters, What do we face in Oregon?


Disasters, what is it to you?
It seems like almost every day here at the store I get asked the question…
What should I prepare for?

What is a disaster to you?
Personally getting my daughter up in the morning to go to school feels like a disaster, but I think we’re talking about something completely different here.

Many people who come into the store are getting prepared for a natural disaster and we think that’s very important! Because when you are prepared for a natural disaster you are prepared for a personal disaster!
Personal disasters are any event or emergency that causes the unexpected in your life, personal disasters may include, financial loss, anxiety, emotional trauma and more just overall badness that wreaks havoc on your life! So in being prepared for a natural disaster like an Earthquake leaves you better prepared for a personal disaster.
Personal Disasters are things like losing your job, getting lost in the woods, falling down the stairs and being out of work. Perhaps a loved one that is sick and needing around the clock care. A house fire, a foreclosure even a burglary I see these all as personal disasters.
Being prepared, Having food for a few weeks extra clothes in your car, good copies of important documents in a secure location all these things offer a HUGE amount of security that can help you weather any personal disaster.

But for the moment lets get back to Science and the WHAT CAN WE EXPECT IN OREGON?

Most people think earthquake when they think about getting prepared and this is true! We DO face earthquakes as a potential disaster, many of us know this already, of course some don’t. I just had a young man into the store yesterday that had just moved here from Texas with his friend and could not figure out what we had to worry about in Portland. So it should be said that some people DON’T KNOW about the earthquakes,
This is because Oregon is in a “special” place, well I don’t know that special is the right word perhaps SCARY is a better word. Oregon has an extreme risk for major seismic movements and very rarely has any that the people feel. This causes a false sense of security for many, that it’s just not going to happen here. So why worry about it.

We should worry about it. A major earthquake like a Cascadia subduction zone quake could set off another major event, from floods, to landslides, to massive utility outages, and even cut off the supply lines of food and basic necessities to the population.

And it Has happened before!

Click this image to see a much larger version,
Click this image to see a much larger version

What you are looking at is a timeline of Cascadia Subduction Zone events. “Great Earthquakes off the coast of Oregon have occurred 40 times over the last 10,000 years, ranging in size from magnitude 8.0 to over 9.0. This graph charts these mega-quakes over this period beginning in 8000 BC and shows they occur, on average, about once every 250 years. Evidence found in coastal marshes (below) shows the last great earthquake occurred in 1700 AD. – ( Excerpt from “Living on Shaky Ground” – Oregon Emergency Management and Humboldt State University)


Other Disasters in Oregon

Other reasons to prepare, include a tsunami generated by a localized quake or even a deep ocean region quake. There is even a Megatsunami possibility that exists.

We have severe weather in Oregon, wind storms like the Columbus day storm in 1962, We have floods, snow storms, wildfires, even the occasional and localized Tornadoes.

3,000 ft (1 km) steam plume on May 19, 1982, two years after its major eruption
3,000 ft (1 km) steam plume on May 19, 1982, two years after Mt St. Helens major eruption

Volcanos are still a threat here, not only from a secondary eruption of Mt St. Helens in WA, which could once again blanket the Metro area with ash as it did in its last 1980 eruption. In Bend there is a Volcano called Newberry its last eruption was 1,300 years ago. USGS considers Newberry to be a “very high threat” volcano, one of the top three in Oregon after Crater Lake and Mount Hood. The threat is based on the potential for an eruption as well as the proximity to populated areas, and the possibility for an eruption to disrupt air travel by sending ash into the air. Read the full article about Newberry by clicking here.

Two other scientifically provable and probable events that could occur are a “NEO” aka Near Earth Object such as an asteroid or meteor striking the earth in what is called an “impact event” and an EMP event such as a Solar Flare.

On 15 February 2013, an asteroid entered Earth's atmosphere over Russia at about 09:20 YEKT (03:20 UTC). With an estimated speed of 18 km/s (40,000 mph), the meteor became a brilliant superbolide over the southern Ural region. It exploded in an air burst over Chelyabinsk Oblast at about 15 to 25 km (9.3 to 16 mi) above the ground, creating small fragmentary meteorites and a powerful shock wave. The atmosphere absorbed most of the released energy, which was equivalent to nearly 500 kilotons of TNT (2.1 PJ), times more powerful than each of the atomic bombs detonated at Hiroshima and Nagasaki.
On 15 February 2013, an asteroid entered Earth’s atmosphere over Russia at about 09:20 YEKT (03:20 UTC). With an estimated speed of 18 km/s (40,000 mph), the meteor became a brilliant superbolide over the southern Ural region. It exploded in an air burst over Chelyabinsk Oblast at about 15 to 25 km (9.3 to 16 mi) above the ground, creating small fragmentary meteorites and a powerful shock wave. The atmosphere absorbed most of the released energy, which was equivalent to nearly 500 kilotons of TNT (2.1 PJ), times more powerful than each of the atomic bombs detonated at Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

Normally, I would not bring up the NEO, since, until recently, it had been so long since we had seen a major meteor strike that most people don’t see it as plausible. But, in light of recent events, it is truly a possibility.

Small objects frequently collide with Earth. Although no human is known to have been killed directly by an impact, over one thousand people were injured in a single airburst event over Russia in 2013. However, there is the possibility that an unknown asteroid or comet could hit the earth and cause a large number of deaths. In 2005, it was estimated that the chance of a person born today dying due to an impact is around 1 in 200 000. The 4-meter-sized asteroid 2008 TC3 is the only known object to be detected before an Earth-impact.

One of the best-known recorded impacts in modern times was the Tunguska event, which occurred in Siberia, Russia, in 1908. This incident involved an explosion that was probably caused by the airburst of an asteroid or comet 5 to 10 km (3.1 to 6.2 mi) above the Earth’s surface, felling an estimated 80 million trees over 2,150 km2 (830 sq mi).

I would LIKE to say that is unlikely that we will see an event like this impacting Oregon anytime soon, but the fact is we just don’t know, and in fact the science indicates that there WILL eventually be another large strike, we just don’t know when or how large.

Solar CME’s could create a possible EMP

EMP-Fig23-An electromagnetic pulse (commonly abbreviated EMP) is a burst of electromagnetic radiation. The abrupt pulse of electromagnetic radiation usually results from certain types of high-energy explosions, especially a nuclear explosion, or from a suddenly fluctuating magnetic field. The resulting rapidly changing electric fields and magnetic fields may couple with electrical/electronic systems to produce damaging current and voltage surges.

I will dig into EMP in much greater scientific detail in another article, but it is plausible from a scientific standpoint and there is a history of a major event. The Carrington Event in 1859 was a solar storm based event.

Generated from what is called a coronal mass ejection (CME) Telegraph systems all over Europe and North America failed, in some cases shocking telegraph operators. Telegraph pylons threw sparks and telegraph paper spontaneously caught fire. Some telegraph systems continued to send and receive messages despite having been disconnected from their power supplies.

An event of this magnitude today would cripple our nation’s infrastructure. I do not say these things to scare you but to make you more aware that is scientifically probable that we will see these events again in the future. And I’m not alone in this theory.

Click here
Click here to review the article. 

On January 15th 2013 Expert Corey Powell, who is also the editor at large of Discovery Magazine, told Bill Hemmer of Fox News during an episode of America’s Newsroom that there’s something that keeps him up at night. What could that be, you ask? Well, it’s a massive solar storm that he says will hit Earth within the next 10 to 20 years … and cause a nationwide blackout.

“We’re going to survive it, but imagine – hospitals blacked out […] all your computers, all your smart phones shut down,” he said. “Yeah, it does really worry me.”

But there’s a solar storm set to erupt here even sooner that could still cause some chaos, with some estimating possible fallout damage at about $2 trillion.

Powell explained that the sun goes through an 11-year cycle of being quiet, then violent … and 2013 is the peak of that cycle. “As we get more satellites … and depend more on our electrical infrastructure, we’re more vulnerable,” he said of why damage from such storms will only increase as time goes by. (source)

We do want to make it clear that neither Michael Knight nor myself are out to inspire irrational fear in you or any of our readers or customers. We don’t want you to stand on the side of the road with a sign that says, “The end is near”, but we do ant you to consider the worst case scenario, because when you plan for the worst case, you put yourself and your family in the best place, a place where you are ready, to take care of yourselves, and to be independent of the support system.

According to the reporting of Nathan Gilles and his article called “The First Four Minutes” Published by the Portland Mercury after a major quake ODOT expects to have the I-5 corridor cleaned and passable for relief efforts within two weeks, in two months Bonneville Power Administration (BPA), says electricity is finally back. I have been told by Northwest Natural that it could be up to 18 months before the normal Gas Service is restored to the metro area. 18 Months that’s at least one winter. Given those facts, I personally am prepared, to leave. I do not expect to remain in the Portland Metro area for a long period of time after a major earthquake. I have prepared enough supplies to safely get myself and my family to either rural property or out of the damage zone so we can start heading back to our families on the east coast.

These are some of the possible dangers we face, how we prepare and what we choose to prepare for are very individual decisions. Be as usual we ask you please prepare. The more prepared you are, the more independent you are.

Go on, Tell your neighbors…

Getting your neighbors ready.

Recently in a Michaels news letterWhat it’s really like when a city is in lockdown.” We learned a story about a group from Bosnia who thrived because they banded together. Neighbors helping neighbors and though we are not facing a situation quite as dire as a civil war (at least we hope not) we are facing many of the above mentioned personal and natural disasters.

We Imagine these disasters are much easier to endure when we work together as neighbors. We can also work together before a disaster, it’s a good plan to work together now to get prepared.

PREP-100PREP Planning for Resilience and Emergency Preparedness is a local organization that has worked hard to put together a wonderful website that gives you the tools you need to connect and communicate with your neighbors about getting prepared.
You can access these tools by going to http://www.preporegon.org/

NETAnother great way to prepare you to help your neighbors is with your local C.E.R.T. team, here in Portland we call the Program NET or Neighborhood Emergency Team.

Neighborhood Emergency Teams (NETs) are Portland residents trained by PBEM and Portland Fire & Rescue to provide emergency disaster assistance within their own neighborhoods.
NET members are trained to save lives and property until professional responders can arrive. These volunteers are specially trained to help others without putting themselves in harm’s way. NET members are:
Prepared to be self-sufficient for one week during any emergency.
Able to provide emergency assistance to their family and immediate neighbors.
Able to work within an emergency response team to save lives and property in their neighborhood.
Able to guide untrained volunteers who want to help others during a disaster.
Click here to learn more about the Portland NET Teams and learn how you can become involved.



A Slice of local news, related to being prepared.

5.1 quake hits 114 miles off S. Oregon coast

PORT ORFORD, Ore. — An earthquake has hit the ocean floor far off the Southern Oregon coast, but there were no immediate reports of anyone feeling it on land. The U.S. Geological Survey reports the magnitude 5.1 quake was 114 miles west northwest of Port Orford at 2:14 p.m. Wednesday Febuary 27th 2013. The epicenter was 6 miles deep. USGS spokeswoman Leslie Gordon says there were no immediate reports to the agency’s website from people feeling the quake on shore. (source)

Nisqually earthquake 2001: Previously unpublished photos

http://www.seattlepi.com/local/article/Nisqually-earthquake-2001-Previously-unpublished-4308036.phpThe Seattle Post-Intelligencer sent more than a half dozen photographers out that morning. Roughly two dozen staff photos were published that week and inyears that followed. But what happened to the hundreds of unpublished photos?
Those negatives are now preserved at the Museum of History and Industry, which has archived millions of P-I negatives after three major donations, including the first in 1976 and another shortly after the Nisqually earthquake in 2001. (Click to view all images) [/box]

It comes from YouTube!

Thank you internet, for providing the following learning experiences.

Anteros Oberon
Follow me at
0 0 vote
Article Rating
Notify of

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Would love your thoughts, please comment.x