Hubby had been up and had heard about the earthquake and had told me about it as soon as it happened.
He calculated that it would be a few hours before a tsunami wave would get to us and tried to get some winks. At four a.m. we heard a knock at the door. We ignored it for a while; sometimes birds, deer and raccoon bump against the house and it feels/sounds as though someone is at the door. The knock was insistent. So, Hubby got up and saw a sheriff's car on the driveway of the next house, and a pamphlet at the doorstep.
I got up. Nothing had hit Hawaii yet, so we had time.
I woke my hubby about 7:00, and it took me a bit of effort to get him up.
We left our house after Hawaii was hit.
Cars were lining up on Cedar Terrace, a neighborhood across the highway, over the next hill. There, each neighbor had a bit of a story. They told us that parts of the highway were blocked off, before bridges, for instance, and in low areas.
If major tsunami waves had hit the west coast, many towns would be isolated for months, leaving many residents to fend for themselves. Our town has no doctors, no pharmacies.
We tried to call out to California to our two boys. Our phone didn't work.
We waited in a cold car (cold by comparison to our warm house.) The outside temps were in the 40's.
It reminded me of the earthquakes in California, the last one causing so many injuries. I always take these drills seriously. Hubby was quite reluctant to remain put and waiting. When he saw the harbor master drive down to work around eight, he was chafing at the bit to get out of sitting around. If it had been warmer, I would have let him drive off and leave me up at Cedar Terrace
Half hour later, we drove around Cedar Terrace and asked the authorities, first respondents who were busy on their walky- talkies, what the prognosis was. They didn't know. We kept driving around, looked over at a relative calm ocean and decided we could go sit at Battle Rock at watch. Battle Rock park is on a bluff approximately 40-50 feet above the surf line.
Waves rolled on shore, then receded after ten minutes, a low and high tide in ten minutes intervals, with some waves cresting higher than normal.
All this time, I was doing much berating. If we just stood there, and a rush of water began to climb the hill, it would crumble right under us, taking us to sea and to sure death. We were all fool on that hill.
A police car was keeping people from driving down at the surf line. Yes, in Oregon, one can drive on the beaches!
After 9:00 we left for Coos Bay, for lunch and a movie. If major tsunami waves had landed on the west coast past 9:00 I would not be here writing this today. The highway, Pacific Coast Highway 101 that runs up and down the US and Canada all the way down the Pacific Rim, that highway has many low points at which the ocean can bring much destruction.
What I fear the most is not our preparedness. It is not even our ability to handle logistics and mobility. We all got out of our houses. We all knew what to do, and we did it.
What I fear the most is our human instinct to be witness to an event such as this.