Tidal Wave, 8/30/1960

He's in an earthquake-reporting station.

A massive earthquake takes place. For once a specific time and place is given; the place is Chile, and the date is May 26, 1960. From the USGS web site: “The Largest Earthquake in the World: Approximately 1,655 killed, 3,000 injured, 2,000,000 homeless, and $550 million damage in southern Chile; tsunami caused 61 deaths, $75 million damage in Hawaii; 138 deaths and $50 million damage in Japan; 32 dead and missing in the Philippines; and $500,000 damage to the west coast of the United States.” Specifically in relation to the tsunami: “ The tsunami, together with the coastal subsidence and flooding, caused tremendous damage along the Chile coast, where about 2,000 people died. The waves spread outwards across the Pacific. 15 hours later the waves flooded Hilo, on the island of Hawaii, where they built up to thirty feet and caused 61 deaths along the waterfront. Seven hours after that (22 hours after the earthquake) the waves flooded the coastline of Japan where ten-foot waves caused 200 deaths. The waves also caused damage in the Marquesas, in Samoa, and in New Zealand. Tide gauges throughout the Pacific measured anomalous oscillations for about three days as the waves bounced from one side of the ocean to the other.” So there is no doubt the episode is accurate about an earthquake taking place that day, followed by a tsunami. The episode actually pins the earthquake at a lower magnitude, and the number of deaths lower than were actually officially estimated.

Then it's back to the station, where the men are working on figuring out how long it will be before the tsunami hits Hawaii. (Remember, this is well before the day of highly accurate weather satellites. It's even before the day of computers that were very useful at all, so it was much, much harder to track these kinds of things.)

Damage from the tsunami in Hawaii.

All of a sudden we're in the middle of a nice domestic scene. It turns out the people are in Honolulu.

His wife has to use a wheelchair and he's nervous about her being alone when he goes to work. They have only recently moved in.

The men track another tsunami.

Although the alert goes out over Hawaiian radio, warning everyone to be prepared to evacuate low-lying areas, the woman doesn't hear the report. Their radio doesn't work very well. They also focus on a guy driving a guy. The guy is deaf, so he won't hear any warning sirens go off.

The monitoring station gives the order to evacuate the areas that will be hit by the tsunami.

She hears the siren go off, but he radio finally works enough for her to hear that the tidal wave is due to hit in ten minutes. She tries to make some calls, but can't find anyone able to help her evacuate. Meanwhile, the retired military guy that is driving is lost.

She gets outside the house, but falls.

The former military guy is driving by and thinks he hears someone. He stops and is able to rescue her.

They have the actual woman there. The narrator talks with her for a couple of minutes.

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