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Simson Garfinkel

A View from Simson Garfinkel

The Tide Goes Out Before the Tidal Wave Comes In

Note to self: if you never see the water going out — way out — on the beach, it’s time to run like hell.CNN has a really fascinating survivor’s tale of what it’s like to be caught in a tsunami…

  • December 27, 2004

Note to self: if you never see the water going out — way out — on the beach, it’s time to run like hell.

CNN has a really fascinating survivor’s tale of what it’s like to be caught in a tsunami when the tidal wave comes ashore. Something that it is almost certainly better to read than to experience.

This 9.0 natural disaster is one catrosphy that we cannot blame on global warming, of course. But we can blame the death toll, according to another CNN story, on the failure of the affected countries to sign up for the US tsunami warning system.


“They had no tidal gauges and they had no warning,” said Waverly Person, a geophysicist at the U.S. National Earthquake Information Center in Golden, Colorado, which monitors seismic activity worldwide. “There are no buoys in the Indian Ocean and that’s where this tsunami occurred.”



“Unfortunately, we have no equipment here that can warn about tsunamis,” said Budi Waluyo, an official with Indonesia’s Meteorology and Geophysics Agency. “The instruments are very expensive and we don’t have money to buy them.”

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