GRANTS PASS, Ore. (AP) – A new study shows that about 5,500 more people could survive a major tsunami hitting the Pacific Northwest if they just walk a little faster to higher ground and safety.
The study published Monday in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences looked at tsunami risks in 73 communities along 700 miles of coastline in Oregon, Washington and Northern California when a Cascadia Subduction Zone earthquake next hits.
Tsunami evacuation plans focus on people walking to safety because roads are expected to be seriously damaged in the preceding earthquake.
Geographers estimate more than 21,000 residents would fail to make it to safety if they walk slowly – at about 2.5 mph. But if they walk faster, at about 3.5 mph, the death toll drops to nearly 16,000.