Authorities are not requiring people to evacuate low-lying areas like this one.

Authorities are not requiring people to evacuate low-lying areas like this one.

Tsunami advisory for Rupert and Haida Gwaii cancelled

British Columbia’s Provincial Emergency Program (PEP) placed the  North Coast and Haida Gwaii under a Tsunami advisory late Thursday night which wasn’t lifted until 7:15 P.M. Friday.

An earthquake that measured 8.9 on the Richtor scale rocked the east coast of Japan on Thursday, and sent tsunamis across the Pacific Ocean towards North America. The waves had lost most of their force before reaching the continent, and no giant wave appeared in Northern B.C.

That is what PEP expected. The program only warned residents of extremely strong currents that could “impact marinas or other costal infrastructure,” and are advised local governments to evacuate marinas, beaches and areas below the high tide mark. Even if a large wave was expected the islands around the Prince Rupert’s harbour would shield the city work the worst of it.

“We’re not worried about much of a wave because we are protected, but it’s the water surge that we’re worried about. The surge is where the water comes in really fast but then it exits really fast . . . it’s like flushing a toilet and it’s going to flush right out towards the harbour right towards the entrance, and that’s what will create all the destruction,” says Dave McKenzie is Prince Rupert’s Fire Chief and local PEP coordinator.

The advisory was not lifted until the next evening because shockwaves from the earthquake still had not dissipated even by the late afternoon, despite hitting North America and instead began bouncing around the coastline.

McKenzie says since the threat to the city was low, the response was response was fairly low-key, but the fire department, RCMP were ready to start banging on doors to get people to higher ground if need be.

“Once we realized they put out a tsunami advisory for the west coast and involved us, our role was to start contacting major players and community contacts.

One of those important players was the Prince Rupert Port Authority, which acted by delaying a cargo ship from docking at the port for several hours. They also ordered a tug to standby an already docked ship so it could pull it into the harbour if the water level suddenly rose or fell. They recalled their harbour patrol boat, and ordered the night-shift crane operators at the port terminals to stop working until the threat had passed.

While evacuations were unnecessary for this particular incident, if ever people are told to get to higher ground, that doesn’t mean climbing up mount Hayes or even going as high up as the hospital.

“If we had to evacuate say Beach and Water Street, getting them up to 2nd Avenue would be higher ground,” says McKenzie.

 

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

The Port of Prince Rupert has experienced another year of increased cargo volumes, shipped through the city, with more than $50 billion in international trade facilitated through the area, the Port Authority announced on Jan. 18. (Photo: K-J Millar/The Northern View)
Port cargo volume growth continues despite pandemic obstacles

Prince Rupert Port authority announces $50 billion in international trade

The IIO B.C. is seeking witnesses to an arrest made in Penticton on Nov. 8, during which the male resisted and sustained a head injury. (File Photo)
The Independent InvestigationsOffice of B.C. released a report on Jan. 18 that a Prince Rupert RCMP officer is cleared of any serious harm wrongdoing from a May 29, 2020 incident. (File Photo)
Police watchdog investigation clears Prince Rupert police officer

IIO investigated May 29 incident where woman fell 25 metres in Prince Rupert

Face masks are required to be worn in all SD 52 common areas such as hallways. School District 52 announced on Jan. 15 three different schools in Prince Rupert all had a member of the school community test positive for COVID-19. (Photo: K-J Millar/The Northern View)
3 Prince Rupert schools have positive COVID-19 case(s)

Letters sent home to families in three Prince Rupert schools announcing COVID-19

Power outages affected thousands of BC Hydro customers in the north on Jan. 14 (File photo) (File photo)
Power outages affect thousands of BC Hydro customers in northern B.C.

Transmission failure led to outages in Prince Rupert and Port Edward

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry prepares a daily update on the coronavirus pandemic, April 21, 2020. (B.C. Government)
B.C. adjusts COVID-19 vaccine rollout for delivery slowdown

Daily cases decline over weekend, 31 more deaths

A female prisoner sent Langford police officers a thank-you card after she spent days in their custody. (Twitter/West Shore RCMP)
Woman gives Victoria-area jail 4.5-star review in handwritten card to police after arrest

‘We don’t often get thank you cards from people who stay with us, but this was sure nice to see’: RCMP

An elk got his antlers caught up in a zip line in Youbou over the weekend. (Conservation Officer Service Photo)
Elk rescued from zip line in Youbou on Vancouver Island

Officials urge people to manage items on their property that can hurt animals

The IIO B.C. is seeking witnesses to an arrest made in Penticton on Nov. 8, during which the male resisted and sustained a head injury. (File Photo)
The Independent InvestigationsOffice of B.C. released a report on Jan. 18 that a Prince Rupert RCMP officer is cleared of any serious harm wrongdoing from a May 29, 2020 incident. (File Photo)
Police watchdog investigation clears Prince Rupert police officer

IIO investigated May 29 incident where woman fell 25 metres in Prince Rupert

A Trail man has a lucky tin for a keepsake after it saved him from a stabbing last week. File photo
Small tin in Kootenay man’s jacket pocket saved him from stabbing: RCMP

The man was uninjured thanks to a tin in his jacket

Tla-o-qui-aht First Nation Chantel Moore, 26, was fatally shot by a police officer during a wellness check in the early morning of June 4, 2020, in Edmundston, N.B. (Facebook)
Frustrated family denied access to B.C. Indigenous woman’s police shooting report

Independent investigation into B.C. woman’s fatal shooting in New Brunswick filed to Crown

Delta Police Constable Jason Martens and Dezi, a nine-year-old German Shepherd that recently retired after 10 years with Delta Police. (Photo submitted)
Dezi, a Delta police dog, retires on a high note after decade of service

Nine-year-old German Shepherd now fights over toys instead of chasing down bad guys

Nurses collect samples from a patient in a COVID suspect room in the COVID-19 intensive care unit at St. Paul’s hospital in downtown Vancouver, Tuesday, April 21, 2020. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward)
5 British Columbians under 20 years old battled COVID-19 in ICU in recent weeks

Overall hospitalizations have fallen but young people battling the virus in hospital has increased

Canada released proposed regulations Jan. 2 for the fisheries minister to maintain Canada’s major fish stocks at sustainable levels and recover those at risk. (File photo)
New laws would cement DFO accountability to depleted fish stocks

Three B.C. salmon stocks first in line for priority attention under proposed regulations

Most Read