Onslow County is Tsunami Ready

ONSLOW COUNTY -- It's a beautiful day along the coast -- a chance to enjoy the sun, the surf, and to perhaps cast a few lines in peace.

But if that tranquility were ruined by the threat of a tsunami, Onslow County is the first place in the state deemed prepared for its arrival.

"We've had tsunamis in the atlantic before," said Mark Goodman, Emergency Manager in Onslow County.  "Fifty-three percent of our population are here on the coast, and there's a lot of property as well."

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) has designated Onslow County "tsunami ready", meaning when a warning is issued, they're prepared to respond.

The education process has already begun.  Information is gathered about how tsunamis are formed and will be placed on the county's website.

Signs are up at several beach access points and on the bridge leading into North Topsail Beach.

"I saw the sign for the first time," said Sneads Ferry resident Carol Pinkey.  "It's scary to think about."

At ten to fifteen feet, the dunes on the beach would be no match to whatever wave a tsunami would bring, but the likelihood of that occurring is not the major concern of county emergency management officials.  They hope residents begin to understand this potential threat to the coast.

"We just hope they understand a tsunami isn't a large Japanese wrestler guy," said Goodman.  "It's something that can bring them harm."

It may not happen tomorrow or even in our lifetimes, but a little warning will help if a big wave ever charges ashore.

Reported by Joe Keiley