The biggest natural disaster in the history of the United States, with the power to alter life forever in the Pacific Northwest, will start in Eastern Oregon with the rattling of windows.
That’s what the scientists say.
Rattling windows could mean Cascadia — the “big one” — an 8.0 to 9.0 magnitude subduction zone earthquake that seismologists at Oregon State University predict has about a one in three chance of hitting Oregon and Washington in the next 50 years. Research suggests such a quake has happened an average of every 243 years and the last one was more than 300 years ago.
It could happen 20 years from now. It could happen after we’re all dead. Or it could happen tomorrow.
If it happens tomorrow, the Oregon Office of Emergency Management predicts Umatilla County residents will likely notice some light shaking for four to six minutes, while some Morrow County homes might shake hard enough to knock over unsecured furniture. Next, the lights will probably go out. Then, cell phones, landlines, the internet and natural gas.