New tsunami hazard maps highlight threat facing seven California counties — even Napa may feel quake’s tremors
Napa County is in the middle of the San Francisco Bay Area, where it is a major hub for the Napa Valley wine industry. But the most seismically active area in the state – the Bay Area itself – could soon be feeling its own tremors from waves of rock from the San Andreas fault, according to new tsunami hazard maps from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.
After the 2011 earthquake in Japan, the U.S. Geological Survey mapped the seismic risk in the Bay Area with colors ranging from green – “low risk” or low risk to red – “high risk” or high risk.
In Napa, which is on the eastern edge of the Bay Area, the map suggests the area may feel a quake, even stronger than the 2011 Tohoku earthquake and tsunami.
“This could be a big wake-up call,” said Napa County Executive Bob Blanquer, who was appointed to his position by Gov. Jerry Brown in January.
The mapping was done after the April 26, 2011, Tohoku earthquake and subsequent tsunami, which caused about 125,000 people to be evacuated from their homes and drove the entire Japanese economy into crisis. It was the country’s worst natural disaster in 60 years.
The U.S. Geological Survey said the probability of an earthquake of magnitude 7.0 or higher in the Bay Area on a given year is about 3 percent. The agency did not say how many earthquakes of such strength there are a year – a number that would have to be confirmed by scientists. But the map does suggest the Bay Area is seismically active year-round.
Napa County, which sits at just north of the Napa Valley on Highway 29, is in the middle of the San Francisco Bay Area, where it is a major hub for the Napa Valley wine industry.
Although Napa County is not in the earthquake-prone areas of northern California, it was on the edge of