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Tsunami Strikes Santa Monica, Washes Pier Away in TV Trailer
1900 Pico Boulevard
Santa Monica, CA 90405
By Jorge Casuso
August 15, 2019 -- Dramatic footage of a tsunami that destroys the Santa Monica Pier and floods the coastal city was released on Wednesday as a trailer for the television series 9-1-1.
The trailer is a reminder that a tsunami poses a real danger to the beach city, which has long had a detailed evacuation plan.
The footage -- which has gone viral -- captures panicked beachgoers and pier visitors rushing to escape the devastating wave as it consumes the coast. The wave recedes, showing a survivor clutching a pier pylon poking from the water.
"An emergency is the absence of choice," says the voice that narrates the footage. "The randomness of the world, the crazy chaos of life, robbing us of our safety."
The doomsday footage is used in the trailer for season three of the television series "9-1-1" that premieres on Fox September 23.
In the show, Buck (Oliver Stark) has his beach day ruined and spends the rest of show running and hiding from the massive wave as his co-workers help him save the other pier-goers.
While there is no record of a tsunami ever striking Santa Monica, signs posted along the roads near the coast are a constant reminder of a real danger.
In fact, the City has developed a comprehensive tsunami preparedness plan that was recognized in 2013 as a model by the National Weather Service.
According to the City's Office of Emergency Management there are several ways of knowing if a tsunami is coming.
"Strong ground shaking, a loud ocean roar, or the water receding unusually far, exposing the sea floor are all warnings," according to the City's tsunami page.
"A tsunami may arrive within minutes and may last for 8 hours or longer."
A map prepared by the City shows a theoretical “inundation zone” that marks the areas that would be affected by a 30-foot surge in the sea level.
The theoretical surge would be blocked north of the pier by the 100-foot-tall Palisades Bluffs, but dozens of single-family homes west of PCH lay within the inundation zone.
So do Ocean View Park, the Sea Colony and the twin Santa Monica Shores high-rises west of Main Street south of the pier.
The map also shows tsunami evacuation routes that are posted on signs along affected streets.
City officials advise evacuating by foot to avoid becoming snarled in traffic and to follow the evacuation routes and safe zones marked on the map.
It is unclear whether the stampeding beachgoers will follow the City's advice on the season premiere.
The "9-1-1" trailer is not the first time a video showing the devastation of the century old wooden landmark goes viral.
In the 2013 film "Sharknado," the pier is demolished by a run-away Ferris wheel after it is knocked free by a tornado full of live sharks.
The Ferris wheel eventually slashes through the iconic Santa Monica Pier sign and crashes into the side of the Wyndham Hotel across the street (click here for clip).
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