Chilling new numbers just released today: 10,000 people are expected to die - not if, but when - a major earthquake and tsunami hit the Northwest coast.
We may have already heard the warnings: the Northwest is overdue for a magnitude 9 earthquake. Now even the state government is taking heed. Local experts say we should too, our survival could depend on it.
"January 26, 1700," lists Geologist Eric Dittmer.
That's the date of the last major earthquake to hit off the Northwest coast -- one geologists say happens almost every 300 years.
"If it happens it will effect millions," says Dittmer.
In 2011 Oregon legislators ordered a study to see how the quote "monster" earthquake and tsunami would impact our coast. Research indicates 10,000 people would die and damages could exceed 30 billion.
"For the last 7 to 8 years we've been getting more info from Department of Minerals and Geology that we're really at the precipice of time, and we expect a tsunami at the coast in the next 100 years," says Senator Alan Bates.
He explained in an interview last year that these warnings were behind the creation of Measure 77, which amends the constitution so Oregon's governor can declare
a "catastrophic disaster" one that could look a lot like this--the Japan quake and tsunami was a 9 as well.
....and for 30 days the governor could allocate money however he or she deemed worthy.
"This is survival, how you prepare now makes a huge difference in your survival afterwards," comments Dittmer.
With all the warnings the question is are people preparing?
"Not yet, but I want to stock up on water and get stuff we might need," says Medford resident Bowe Parks.
"Unfortunately I haven't done anything to prepare for it," comments Barbara Stewart.
So despite public apathy, Dittmer is taking the data seriously-- showing me his home survival kit, prepared for the worst, but ever hopeful of the best.
There are many ways you can prepare - knowing what to put in your survival kit... creating a neighborhood plan.
Go to www.ashlandcert.org for more information.