Large, often very devastating waves are called tsunamis (or tidal waves), can strike the Oregon Coast at any time. The giant waves are caused by undersea earthquakes. They can occur along the Cascadia Subduction Zone – one of the largest faults in North America. This fault line is about 32 to 70 miles offshore and parallels the west coast. The cities of Coos Bay, North Bend and Charleston, Oregon sound a test Tsunami alert every Wednesday at 12 noon. The sirens really need to be upgraded and made much louder. I live about 1/2 mile from the fire department’s warning siren in Charleston and I cannot hear the weekly test. It doesn’t evoke much confidence in the system!  It is now 2014 and I still do not hear the weekly test??

These “tidal waves” are very destructive and dangerous. They have struck the Oregon coast many times and will no doubtly strike again in the future. The tsunamis often follow within minutes after an underwater earthquake. Their speed is very quick, but they rapidly run out of water as the reach inland and begin to move uphill. Flooding can occur up to several miles inland along rivers and streams. Most tsunamis are not a single giant wave but rather many large waves which strike the coast over the course of several hours.
What can you do to Escape:

After notice than an earthquake has taken place move inland and uphill immediately.

Do NOT return to the shoreline after the first wave because many more may arrive for several hours.


The authorities will advise you when it is safe to return to your home and the shorelines.

Additional information may be obtained from the local emergency planning office or the Oregon Department of Geology and Mineral Industries.