Berkeley Marina boat dwellers evacuated due to tsunami advisory

A photo taken at 7:43 a.m. Saturday shows Berkeley police blocking access to Marina at Frontage Road and University Avenue due to a tsunami advisory. Credit: Lance Knobel

Update 9:10 a.m..: About 113 people were evacuated from boats, docks and the shoreline of the Berkeley Marina to safety from the tsunami advisory issued around 7:14 a.m., Deputy Fire Chief Keith May told Berkeleyside. Guests staying at the DoubleTree Inn at the marina were not evacuated but were asked to stay away from the shore, where there could be water surges from the underwater volcanic eruption near Tonga .

There is no scheduled date for the tsunami advisory to be lifted, May said. Hawaii just saw some big floods of water and they could be heading to the west coast.

Despite the marina’s call for evacuation, “it’s not like a big tsunami is coming in and heading all the way to San Pablo Avenue,” May said. “We don’t expect huge waves.”

The National Tsunami Warning Center predicted there would be waves between 1 and 3 feet high, May said. “This advisory means that a tsunami, capable of producing strong currents or waves dangerous to people in or very near the water, is expected or has already occurred. The areas covered by the advisory do not should not expect widespread flooding. Tsunamis are a series of dangerous waves several hours after the initial arrival time. The first wave may not be the largest.

The 7:14 a.m. Nixle alert sent out by the Berkeley Police Department initially described the event as a “tsunami warning,” the highest alert level. But it’s really always been an opinion, a lower level, May said.

Police and firefighters and members of parks and waterfront services went boat-to-boat and door-to-door to notify marina residents to leave, May said. Police also blocked the roads leading to the marina.

Original story: The Berkeley Fire Department ordered people living at or near the marina to evacuate immediately due to a tsunami advisory. Waves one to two feet high are expected beginning at 8:10 a.m. in the San Francisco area, according to the National Weather Service.

Berkeley Police have closed access to the Frontage Road Marina.

The National Weather Service has issued a tsunami advisory for the entire west coast after an undersea volcano erupted near Tonga. Big waves crashed over this island nation, according to the Washington Post.

“The National Weather Service has ruled out ‘widespread flooding’ at this time, but said people in or very near water can expect strong currents and dangerous waves,” according to the Post.

Waves of one to three feet can knock people over and drag them into the ocean, Colby Neuman, an NWS meteorologist based in Portland, Oregon, told The Post.

“Tsunamis often arrive as a series of waves or surges that could be dangerous for many hours after the first wave arrives,” reads the tsunami advisory issued Saturday morning in the Bay Area. “The first wave or tsunami wave may not be the highest in the series.”

The Berkeley Police Department went boat to boat at the marina this morning, waking people up, according to police scanner chatter relayed by a Berkeleyside reader. The DoubleTree by Hilton hotel at the marina is not evacuated.

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