Tsunami Debris at L.A. Beaches? Don't Expect to Surf Into a House

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Thu, Mar 8, 2012 at 12:24 PM

click to enlarge ANTHONY_GOTO
  • anthony_goto
Surfers call getting covered by a wave and riding inside its tube "getting shacked."

That could have a whole new meaning is some of the debris from last year's disastrous tsunami in Japan -- houses, cars, boats and all -- hits our shores.

Near the eve of the one-year anniversary of the disaster, the environmental group Heal the Bay has the 411 about possible debris hitting our shores. The good news, according a statement from the group?

It won't be that bad.

Scientists believe that much of that stuff actually sank off the coast of Japan (houses and cars don't float too well, apparently) and that the rest dispersed so widely throughout the Pacific that satellites focusing on the flow lost track of it, according to Heal the Bay.

The group adds that it's not at all likely that body parts would make it all the way to your local beach.

The bad news? And we quote:

click to enlarge 5GYRES.ORG
  • 5gyres.org

... It will likely be difficult to differentiate tsunami-debris from trash that normally flows from land-based sources and washes up onto our beaches ... Marine debris in Southern California is an everyday problem, stemming from urban runoff and ocean sources throughout the Pacific.

In other words, just another day at Venice, which one of the locals likes to call "Debris by the Sea." Yay!

So when's it going to get here? And should we throw it a party?

They don't know. And no.

According to Heal the Bay, estimates are too cloudy to even repeat. But you can get more info on possible debris tracking here. The organization says there have been many a false claim of debris finds along the West Coast already:

Not every item found on the beach with Asian writing is from the Japan tsunami.

If you do spot something you think is from the tsunami, however, the government would like to see it. Email a picture to National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration; cc us.

[@dennisjromero / djromero@laweekly.com / @LAWeeklyNews]

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