Tsunami warning sirens wailed up and down the Washington coast Thursday. Students, businesses and medical workers drilled for an earthquake and tsunami as part of an annual event called "The Great Shakeout."

More than 1.5 million Northwesterners signed up to take part in this year's "Great ShakeOut" on Thursday morning. While "drop, cover and hold" is part of the annual earthquake safety drill everywhere, some coastal schools and offices followed up with tsunami evacuation practice.

The state of Oregon has updated its master plan for what to do in case of a major earthquake and tsunami.


The tsunami that struck Japan four years ago sent about five million tons of debris into the Pacific Ocean. On Friday, workers started unloading one million pounds of that debris that arrived by barge in south Seattle.

Oregon lawmakers are turning their attention to earthquake and tsunami preparedness.

Tom Banse / Northwest News Network

Up and down the West Coast there are beach towns where it would be challenging to escape a tsunami. That's because high ground is out of reach assuming the roads are buckled or jammed after a great earthquake. Now one low-lying Washington coastal town in that predicament is doing something about it.

Oregon State University

Winter storms off the Oregon and Washington coastlines are expected to bring a new wave of debris from the 2011 tsunami in Japan. Scientists say objects are already washing ashore – with potentially invasive organisms riding along.

Tom Banse / Northwest News Network

People along the Oregon Coast ran for their lives Sunday to escape an imaginary tsunami. Local, state and federal emergency management agencies hatched the idea for a 5K fun run and walk along an actual tsunami evacuation route in Cannon Beach. The event was an example of trying to inject some levity in the serious business of disaster readiness.

Anna King / Northwest News Network

Japan’s crippled nuclear plant is bleeding hazardous radioactive water at a mind-staggering rate. Officials at Fukushima Daiich are filling 27-feet-tall tanks nearly every other day. Now, in southeast Washington, a company called Kurion is developing and building a mobile filter system to help deal with that troublesome radioactive wastewater.

The filtering system looks like five large shipping containers. Except, they’re awfully shiny and have a lot of high-tech whiz-bang pipes, electronics and tanks inside. Workers here are still welding, and testing the systems.

Washington Marine Debris Task Force

The wave of derelict boats drifting ashore more than three years after the devastating earthquake and tsunami in Japan continues. The latest arrival is a fiberglass skiff coated with sea life found today at Horsfall Beach near Coos Bay.