Tsunami - Why You Want to be on High Ground

Topics in this category pertain to planning. Discussions include how to prepare yourself, your family and your community for catastrophes and what you plan to do when they hit you.

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Tsunami - Why You Want to be on High Ground

Post by raptor » Thu Jul 21, 2011 3:15 pm

This is an excellent video, both in terms of quality and content, that shows exactly how fast the water moves and comes up during a tsunami.

The only safe place here is 50+ feet above the ground.

http://www.wimp.com/japanesetsunami/" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;
Last edited by raptor on Thu Jul 21, 2011 8:11 pm, edited 2 times in total.

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Re: Tsunami - Why You Want to be on High Ground

Post by ei8htx » Thu Jul 21, 2011 3:40 pm

That is truly terrifying.

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Re: Tsunami - Why You Want to be on High Ground

Post by Biggin » Thu Jul 21, 2011 3:49 pm

Damn. Seems like in that situation, if you can't spot high ground, stay in the car with your seatbelt buckled. Most of those little Japanese cars seem to float pretty well and I'd take the car over floating around with the debris unprotected.

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Re: Tsunami - Why You Want to be on High Ground

Post by Spectre0311 » Thu Jul 21, 2011 4:01 pm

At the end I instinctively took a deep breath. :?

I am not a fan of open water, and this is high-octane nightmare fuel for me. There's nowhere to egress when tens of city blocks are flooded in moments and the water just keeps on coming. The camera loses sight of the guy that bailed from the Honda Odyssey(?) and I found myself wondering if he made it to relative safety before the street was overcome with debris and bumper cars.
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Re: Tsunami - Why You Want to be on High Ground

Post by carolinafan » Thu Jul 21, 2011 4:03 pm

Holy shit.
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Re: Tsunami - Why You Want to be on High Ground

Post by raptor » Thu Jul 21, 2011 4:06 pm

In this situation the water is dangerous but the real danger is the debris and "bumper cars" in the water. My first instinct would be get inside and climb some stairs. The problem with that is obvious, the tsunami was caused by an earthquake which may have significantly damaged buildings. Thus you run upstairs only to find the stairs gone or damaged or worse the building structure compromised just in time for it to be hit with a wall of water.

Not a good scenario.

I agree climb on top of the car and try to ride it out.

A funny note did anyone notice the windshield wipers worked throughout the ordeal.
Last edited by raptor on Thu Jul 21, 2011 4:20 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Tsunami - Why You Want to be on High Ground

Post by RickOShea » Thu Jul 21, 2011 4:11 pm

The snow flakes hitting the windshield were the icing on that hellish cake.

Atleast we get a few days notice with the hurricanes.
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Re: Tsunami - Why You Want to be on High Ground

Post by Spectre0311 » Thu Jul 21, 2011 6:21 pm

raptor wrote:
Not a good scenario.

I agree climb on top of the car and try to ride it out.
For a moment I thought justifiably freaked out mini-van guy would scale the ladder on the back of that eighteen wheeler, before hurriedly running off to parts unknown. When it was within view of the camera the tanker did not appear to move, meanwhile the compact cars were impersonating ping pong balls in a wave pool.

Despite the apparent (and unsettling, in this instance) flotation capabilities of modern cars, hanging onto the top for much more than eight seconds would be more agreeable than being inside one when it decides to flip over.
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Re: Tsunami - Why You Want to be on High Ground

Post by Paladin1 » Thu Jul 21, 2011 6:36 pm

Wow, I think I would have made a run for one of the large buildings. I would not try to cling to the top of a car as it was tossed around.
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Re: Tsunami - Why You Want to be on High Ground

Post by Liff » Thu Jul 21, 2011 9:09 pm

raptor wrote:A funny note did anyone notice the windshield wipers worked throughout the ordeal.
I noticed this ^^ more than anything else. I didn't expect the water to rise that fast, but the windshield wipers took me by surprise.

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Re: Tsunami - Why You Want to be on High Ground

Post by Vel454 » Thu Jul 21, 2011 9:27 pm

Scuba gear might make it into my GHB due to this video.

Stay inside car for a barrier against the crushing debri... Scuba gear to (hopefully) wait out being under water.
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Re: Tsunami - Why You Want to be on High Ground

Post by Biggin » Thu Jul 21, 2011 9:54 pm

Paladin1 wrote:Wow, I think I would have made a run for one of the large buildings. I would not try to cling to the top of a car as it was tossed around.
See, ideally I'd want to get into a building as well but I find it hard to believe that person that left their car made it without being overrun by the water. It comes so quickly ya know? It seems like the least bad of a list of bad choices would be the car.

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Re: Tsunami - Why You Want to be on High Ground

Post by Vel454 » Thu Jul 21, 2011 9:59 pm

Biggin wrote:
Paladin1 wrote:Wow, I think I would have made a run for one of the large buildings. I would not try to cling to the top of a car as it was tossed around.
See, ideally I'd want to get into a building as well but I find it hard to believe that person that left their car made it without being overrun by the water. It comes so quickly ya know? It seems like the least bad of a list of bad choices would be the car.
Forgetting the bone-crushing debri in the water, even fast ankle/knee deep water can sweep someone off their feet. Add to that, extreme panic and adrenaline, your motor skills would be drastically reduced. Tripping and stumbling would be likely. Add back in the mud-thick debri and I doubt you'd make it far either. If I was right next to a structure I could climb, I might go for it. But the vehicle, like you said, seems like the lesser of many evils.
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Re: Tsunami - Why You Want to be on High Ground

Post by RickOShea » Thu Jul 21, 2011 10:08 pm

I posted this story in another thread.

Last year a bunch of us were in Montgomery for a work seminar. Around midday, a gully washer popped up and dumped several inches of rain in just a couple hours. It took us two hours to get back to our hotel, even though it was less than five miles away, because of all the water over the roads.

On the local news that night, they told about a guy who tried to turn around because of a road closure, but he got too far off the edge of the road while turning around. His car slid down the bank into an aqueduct.

They found his Lincoln Towncar folded in half a couple miles down the aqueduct. It had been pushed sideways through a 6' x 6' culvert by the force of all that water.

They found him about five miles down stream where the aqueduct emptied into a lake.

All that being said, I think I'd take my chances and stay in my vehicle, too. :shock:
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Re: Tsunami - Why You Want to be on High Ground

Post by KnightoftheRoc » Thu Jul 21, 2011 11:52 pm

I agree- staying inside a (lightly) armored enclosure like a car seems the best protection available for most people caught at street level. I, too, was amazed at the number of vehicles that still had electrical power- the cameraman's wipers, and several floating cars still having lights on was evidence of this- I'd have expected vehicles THAT far nose-down into the water to have shorted out the battery.

At 1:36, you see a guy trying to force down his driver's side window, by hand- apparently, he did NOT have power- at least not to the power windows. I assume he intended to get on top of the vehicle like the guy at 2:11, but simply couldn't open his window to get out. This is why I think manual windows RULE- simple, proven design, and work even when submerged, where opening a door is impossible, due to the water pressure on the outside of it. If power windows are what you are forced to accept, buy an automatic centerpunch, and attach it to a visor- you can shatter the glass with one if you had to. Even with the water pressure on the other side when entirely submerged, where some of the hammer type devices won't work. Just be sure you're unbelted, as are other passengers, before doing so.

The videos of this disaster are just mind-blowing. I hadn't seen this one before, but the helicopter videos showing entire neighborhoods washing into the countryside- some of it ON FIRE :shock: give you an idea of the scope of the damage and water speed. This eye-level view is another eye-opener. Makes me glad I live so far above sea level!
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Re: Tsunami - Why You Want to be on High Ground

Post by Vel454 » Fri Jul 22, 2011 12:22 am

KnightoftheRoc wrote:At 1:36, you see a guy trying to force down his driver's side window, by hand- apparently, he did NOT have power- at least not to the power windows. I assume he intended to get on top of the vehicle like the guy at 2:11, but simply couldn't open his window to get out.
I think that's the same guy. I would be extremely concerned about getting rolled off the car, personally. Shortly after the camera man floats away from the guy at 2:11 you see a car do a hard "front-wheelie" in the water and the camera man's car goes for a few hard rolls too. Again, with a high degree of coordination lost during a highly intense moment like that, I doubt I'd have bull-rider abilities and would likely end up in the water pretty quick.

I don't remember the exact time, but watch around the debri between 2-3 minute mark, there is a tire peeking out of the water, from an obviously submerged car laying on it's side. With that much stuff in the water fighting for space, and as the water level rises, it seems that the most boyant items will force others below the water. I'd imagen if your vehicle were to start sinking and taking on water, it'd very very quickly be forced beneath everything else.

Risk getting squished by floating vehicles and such, in an attempt to reach a building/hill/whatever, ride on top of your car and hope like hell not to get rolled off... Or sit inside your car, and pray that it doesn't become a dark watery coffin. Pretty shitty situation no matter what. Good lesson to be aware of where you live, and take action to avoid possible disasters like this.
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Re: Tsunami - Why You Want to be on High Ground

Post by raptor » Fri Jul 22, 2011 10:41 am

Vel454 wrote: Good lesson to be aware of where you live, and take action to avoid possible disasters like this.

That is exactly why I posted this video. It is good lesson for us all. Here is IMO the best way to have handled this situation. I am not trying to a "know it all" and I am certainly not Monday Morning QB'ing since I assume the video was taken by a police car. If that is the case the LEO was obviously on duty thus had a duty to remain on patrol. In this case duty likely required him to risk his life. I do not enough Japanese to find out who survived and who did not.

That said:

The area clearly is known for tsunami risk. After the earthquake, the tsunami warning was issued. The best thing to do was to evacuate to one of the tsunami evacuation points. This is clearly an event where evacuation is the best course of action. The other thing is I think we all have a healthy distrust of "official sources". However, this is an instance where such distrust could cost you your life. There are instances where your noncompliance is foolish. Hurricane and tsunami warnings are IMO instances where you disregard these warnings at your own risk.

Finally after looking at the video several times I noticed several utility poles that were both stout and had pegs in the side that would permit you to climb up. If you find yourself in such a situation (i.e. about to be screwed and tattooed by flood waters) look for such a pole and climb that sucker as fast as possible and keep climbing to stay above the flood waters. It is not a great option but it beats staying with the car at least in this instance.

Now would I have thought about that at the time if I was caught in this tsunami?...it is highly unlikely.

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Re: Tsunami - Why You Want to be on High Ground

Post by Vel454 » Fri Jul 22, 2011 11:16 am

raptor wrote:
Vel454 wrote: Good lesson to be aware of where you live, and take action to avoid possible disasters like this.

That is exactly why I posted this video. It is good lesson for us all. Here is IMO the best way to have handled this situation. I am not trying to a "know it all" and I am certainly not Monday Morning QB'ing since I assume the video was taken by a police car. If that is the case the LEO was obviously on duty thus had a duty to remain on patrol. In this case duty likely required him to risk his life. I do not enough Japanese to find out who survived and who did not.

That said:

The area clearly is known for tsunami risk. After the earthquake, the tsunami warning was issued. The best thing to do was to evacuate to one of the tsunami evacuation points. This is clearly an event where evacuation is the best course of action. The other thing is I think we all have a healthy distrust of "official sources". However, this is an instance where such distrust could cost you your life. There are instances where your noncompliance is foolish. Hurricane and tsunami warnings are IMO instances where you disregard these warnings at your own risk.

Finally after looking at the video several times I noticed several utility poles that were both stout and had pegs in the side that would permit you to climb up. If you find yourself in such a situation (i.e. about to be screwed and tattooed by flood waters) look for such a pole and climb that sucker as fast as possible and keep climbing to stay above the flood waters. It is not a great option but it beats staying with the car at least in this instance.

Now would I have thought about that at the time if I was caught in this tsunami?...it is highly unlikely.
Raptor - 99% of the time I strongly agree with damn near everything you post.

But I think I'd prefer to take a chance sitting in a car, car hoping from one top to another, or trying to swim-rush a building than willingly trap myself between a possibily still live power lines and the bone-crushing debri of the rising flood. The water might rise high enough to force you to climb right up into the power lines, or close enough to decide to just jump in the water. There were some lines down in the video, but they were the lower cable/phone lines, not the powerlines on top of the poles. If those lines were to touch the water... you'd be screwed. I seen the pegs on the poles too, but getting away from the powerlines would be a top priority if I had any means of moving about in the flood.

It'd seem like crawling your way out on the far reaches of a long branch, in an attempt to avoid a forest fire, when the tree your in is already on fire. I'd prefer to risk a run through the moving inferno on the ground, than just scale to the top of a burning tree and ultimately face fire or fall.
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Re: Tsunami - Why You Want to be on High Ground

Post by raptor » Fri Jul 22, 2011 11:24 am

Vel454 wrote: The water might rise high enough to force you to climb right up into the power lines, or close enough to decide to just jump in the water. There were some lines down in the video, but they were the lower cable/phone lines, not the powerlines on top of the poles. If those lines were to touch the water... you'd be screwed. I seen the pegs on the poles too, but getting away from the powerlines would be a top priority if I had any means of moving about in the flood.
Good point about the power lines. I had not considered the fact that the water may rise high enough to the point where the energized power lines would be in the water or that I may have to climb over energized power lines.

I stand corrected and retract my statement. :oops:

I agree stay away from power lines. My suggestion was a classic example of "out of the frying pan and into the fire".

That is why I like this forum people come up with very logical reasons for actions and everyone can learn from them

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Re: Tsunami - Why You Want to be on High Ground

Post by Vel454 » Fri Jul 22, 2011 11:30 am

This forum is absolutely great for just that reason. I learn something or gain a viewpoint on a subject I hadn't considered before, nearly every time I log into this place.

Now if there were a large tree around or something, I'd climb like a monkey on crack. :lol:
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Re: Tsunami - Why You Want to be on High Ground

Post by raptor » Fri Jul 22, 2011 11:41 am

Vel454 wrote:This forum is absolutely great for just that reason. I learn something or gain a viewpoint on a subject I hadn't considered before, nearly every time I log into this place.

Now if there were a large tree around or something, I'd climb like a monkey on crack. :lol:
There were trees nearby but the branches were cut so they could not be climbed easily and they were short. Based upon this I think I would suggest climbing on top of the tanker truck in lieu of the trees. The problem with the tanker truck is that if it has gasoline in it, you are riding on top of 5,000 gallons of gasoline on your way to a big fire somewhere. :shock:

Literally another "out of the frying pan into the fire situation".
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Re: Tsunami - Why You Want to be on High Ground

Post by airballrad » Fri Jul 22, 2011 11:46 am

Here is another that struck me when I first saw it. It shows, in real time, the situation going from normalcy to buildings grinding each other into rubble in about 5 minutes.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GpuLlIrUYsI

Edit: Nevermind, I found it on Youtube after all.

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Re: Tsunami - Why You Want to be on High Ground

Post by Vel454 » Fri Jul 22, 2011 11:52 am

That's an option I'd strongly consider.

To be honest, I think this is a classic example of the need to react quickly. I know it'll go against your style, Raptor. But I think the moment I seen water down the street, I (hopefully) would have the mindset to become ultra-aggressive in trying to use the vehicles ability to move faster than I can on foot, to try and outpace the water. I'd slide through where the passenger from the car jumped out in the beginning, and try to hotrod it through the streets the best I can. If only to get 3-4 blocks infront of the water to hopefully have the time to ditch the car next to a building and get up high, if driving to high ground seemed impossible. If I failed at that, I'd be right where I would of been anyways, bobbing around in the car.
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Re: Tsunami - Why You Want to be on High Ground

Post by raptor » Fri Jul 22, 2011 12:04 pm

Vel454 wrote:
To be honest, I think this is a classic example of the need to react quickly.
I agree. This is situation where pondering the problem for even 20 seconds puts you at risk. It is a situation where immediate reaction is the best response. Your plan makes sense. I am not sure in this case you would be better or worse off. However clearly sitting in your car thinking about it means your course of action is limited to bobbing around and climbing on top of the vehicle. As you said, in a worst case you still wind where you were anyway.

If you look at other videos you will see the water hitting with such force that buildings simply collapse. Thus even running into a building may offer simply a crushing death in another location. This is not a good scenario for survival. :(

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