There was no danger here in Newport Beach from the tsunami caused by the Chilean earthquake. That’s good, since local residents like ourselves got warning calls from the city an hour after the waves hit. But despite the thousands of miles, you could see them arrive and have an impact.
The waves came just after noon Pacific time. I wasn’t positioned well to really see the first one, but I moved and caught the second on video. I was standing next to Mark Legg, a local geophysicist from Huntington Beach. You’ll hear him talking on the video:
Another arrived after this but didn’t have the power to reverse the flow of the river near its mouth. But there were some interesting currents it created:
To give you a sense of the change, this is how the river looked when the tsunami wasn’t pushing it back. Keep in mind that there had just been an extremely heavy rainfall early in the morning, so the flow was pretty strong. The tsunami was powerful enough to push all that back:
Here’s the Orange County Register report about the waves.
Also, in case anyone was worried that it was crazy to be out there, it was clear by this point there would be no large or dangerous wave arriving. San Diego and points further south had come through completely unscathed. You also can’t see in the video that there’s a small hill right above the water — we were watching it from the river channel, rather than on the actual beach.
Postscript: See The Japanese Tsunami Reaches Newport Beach