San Francisco Bay's Tsunami Impact

Here's proof the tsunami made a real impact inside the San Francisco Bay

By Lori Preuitt
|  Friday, Mar 11, 2011  |  Updated 5:54 PM PDT
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Raw Video: Tsunami Hits Santa Cruz

Nick O'Kelly

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Santa Cruz and Crescent City suffered damage in the millions of dollars from a tsunami that was generated by a massive 8.9 earthquake in Japan.

Boats were tossed around like Tonka toys as a surge of water came into the harbors in those two coastal cities, but there was also tsunami related trouble in the San Francisco Bay. NBC Bay Area meteorologist Nick O'Kelly snapped a couple photos of stranded boats in Sausalito.

O'Kelly said just when it looked like the tsunami would be a non-event inside the bay, the water started to recede from the Sausalito shoreline. This happened just after 9 a.m.

Within 20 minutes water levels three miles inside of the Golden Gate Bridge had dropped about five feet and that was enough to cause some vessels to become stuck in the mud of Richardson Bay.

Some of the sailboats anchored in Richardson's Bay heeled over. 

O'Kelly says just as quickly, currents reversed direction and by 9:40 a.m. most of the boats were floating again.

A second smaller surge was also felt between 10 a.m. and 10:20 a.m. 

By the afternoon, many spots across the bay looked like they have been hit with an oil slick as the muck from the bottom of the ocean was churned upward by the tsunami. 

Some sailboat harbors described it as soot. NBC Bay Area reporter Jean Elle took a photo of the brownish, muddy water from the Bay Bridge near Treasure Island.

 

An NBC Bay Area Facebook fan named Mary showed us video posted on YouTube that appears to show the wave coming into Tiburon. It shows a long line of a slow moving wave coming ashore.

Someone also posted video of what they say is the tsunami wave hitting Emeryville. It shows one long wave coming ashore and it hit at the right time for it to be the real thing.

Check it out for yourself.

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