NOAA: Cuts To Tsunami Warning System Won’t Jeopardize State’s Safety

SANTA CRUZ (KCBS) — Emergency management officials in California are alarmed over proposed federal funding cuts to a tsunami alert system.

This weekend marks the one-year anniversary of a 9.0 earthquake in Japan that triggered a tsunami that devastated Japan and within hours those same waves reached Santa Cruz harbor.

The natural disaster caused $17 million in damage to the harbor.

Last month The White House announced its proposal to cut $1 million to the technologically advanced tsunami buoy alert system.

KCBS’ Mike Colgan Reports:

“I’m very concerned. It’s a typical emergency management challenge. This is an event in Washington that maybe doesn’t have as much visibility and the risk in California might not be perceived as being as high,” said Stephen Sellers, an assistant secretary with the California Emergency Management Agency.

Sellers has been with the agency for 17 years and said one typically thinks of earthquakes, fires and floods as your typical emergency situation, but tsunamis are more of a low probability, high-risk event.

“The historical record is fairly unknown, but we’ve had 80 tsunami’s in California that can be documented,” he said.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration maintained that the cuts won’t jeopardize public safety.

(Copyright 2012 by CBS San Francisco. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

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