In Blissfull Ignorance

Oct 28, 2012 | 2 comments

It wasn’t until this morning when I faced my computer to write my daily blog that I learned of last night’s earthquake in Alaska and the subsequent tsunami warnings it generated.  Apparently, the quake off the Queen Charlotte Islands was significant but the tsunami warnings were limited to Hawaii and to the Alaskan Coast.  For those of us on the Washington, Oregon, and California coasts, it was an ‘advisory’ warning only.

Even so, several Facebook friends reported a wakeful night until the warnings in Hawaii and Alaska were downgraded to ‘advisories’ early this morning; in Hawaii thousands left the coastal areas in response to emergency evacuation directives.  Meanwhile, we slept through the night in blissful ignorance.

Reading about all the hullabaloo this morning – the hours of anticipation, second-guessing Mother Nature, waiting for those scientific calculations – made me think, once again, of my grandmother’s frequent comment that it’s good we cannot see into the future.  But, maybe we have come pretty close.  We are probably only a few techie-steps away from the fast forward button that will show us if our projections are going to prove true.  The crystal ball will, at last, become a reality!  YIKES!

Meanwhile, I think we are becoming more and more entrenched in the “Wolf Wolf” syndrome.  How many false alarms or downgrades will it take before people simply will not heed the warnings?  I suspect this household is already close to that point.  Thank goodness we didn’t know what was going on!  It saved us hours of unnecessary angst and concern about far-away friends.

I wonder if our forefathers appreciated their splendid isolatio…


  1. Stephanie Frieze

    In 1964 my parents and I spent Easter Vacation (it was still called that back then) at my grandparents beach house in Seaview). It was not until the day after the Alaska earthquake that we found out that there’d been a tsunami (we called them tidal waves then) warning and that a lot of the Peninsula had evacuated to the old pink high school building in Ilwaco despite the sheriff’s department having been through the neighborhood with a bull-horn telling people to go. We were happy that we’d had a good night’s sleep, but a little unsettled reflecting on what might have been. Last night, because we have better communications and technology allows faster predictions of such things (wittness the days of prepartions that have been going on with the heralding of Hurrican Sandy) for better or worse we have more warning. I appreciated KMUN’s The Ship Report posting the NOAA updates. It’s not like I could have done anything for my mother in her apartment in Ilwaco. Her apartment manager has made arrangements for buses to come get the residents in the case of a tsunami, but I have little faith in that actually happening. My mother has a bottle of bourbon in her tsunami bag and that might be her best bet to ride out the storm.

  2. Linda J

    I’ve heard it takes about one generation (to historians, about 33 years) to forget a devastating natural disaster and become complacent. That’s when people move back onto the 100-year flood plain, onto the land below the sleeping volcano, stop heeding the tsunami warnings, and so forth.


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