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STORMTracker Weather Blog

Nov 6, 2013 7:04 PM by CBS Seattle

Texas-sized tsunami debris field headed toward the West Coast

SEATTLE - A new report states an island of debris the size of Texas is floating in the Pacific Ocean heading straight to the United States.

According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), approximately five million tons of debris were washed into the ocean after the 2011 tsunami in Japan and some of that has already reached beaches in the Pacific Northwest.

Now, a new report released by NOAA explains a new model that is improving the understanding of potential paths of the debris from the devastating tsunami.

NOAA used a computer model using past data on ocean currents to forecast potential paths of the tsunami debris immediately after it occurred and it gave them an idea of the direction and timing of the debris.

Wind speed and ocean current data from the past year have been incorporated into an updated model.

There are no accurate estimates of how much debris is still floating in the ocean today, but Japan estimates about 30% of that floated away from shore.

Researchers with NOAA have proved that a Japanese fishing vessel floating adrift in Canadian waters near British Columbia were debris from the tsunami.

Click here to read more at CBS Seattle.


UPDATE: Responding to recent news reports that an island of debris from the 2011 Japan tsunami in the Pacific Ocean that is about the size of Texas is heading straight to the United States, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration said that it is not the case. Click here for details.

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