Monterey Bay Area, CA – As of 5:30 Friday evening, the Tsunami Warning for northern California has been downgraded to a Tsunami Advisory. In Santa Cruz County, emergency officials have lifted the evacuation advisory and re-opened beaches. Still, they urge caution near the water. The damage assessment at Santa Cruz's Small Craft Harbor continues to grow. An estimated 20 boats sank, 100 sustained damage and the harbor infrastructure also sustained significant damage. The estimate now stands around $15-million. Governor Jerry Brown has declared a State of Emergency in Santa Cruz County. This will free up state agencies to assist the county. For more details, listen to the above interview with Paul Horvat of Santa Cruz Emergency Operations.
In Monterey County there are still no reports of damage. Beaches in Monterey County do remain closed.
As of 3:00 o'clock Friday afternoon, all beaches in Monterey and Santa Cruz Counties remain closed because of a Tsunami Warning. The National Weather Service issued the warning early Friday morning after an 8.9 magnitude earthquake shook Japan. Emergency officials urge everyone to stay out of the water and away from local beaches because of the unpredictable nature of a tsunami.
The first tsunami waves started coming in on Central Coast beaches just before 8:00 o'clock Friday morning. NWS meteorologists say the surges could last up to twelve hours. In Monterey County there has been no damage, no evacuations and no calls for search and rescue, but it's a different story in Santa Cruz County.
In Santa Cruz, the mornings first waves caused around $2-million in damage at the Small Craft Harbor. Two docks and several boats were damaged. An evacuation advisory also remains in effect for Santa Cruz County coastal areas most likely to impacted by the Tsunami. The evacuation advisory is not mandatory. Evacuation centers have been set up at Jade Street Park in Santa Cruz, the Civic Center in Santa Cruz, the Fairgrounds in Watsonville and the Davenport Fire Station in Davenport. Residents in both counties can call 211 for more details.