PORTLAND, Ore. – When a magnitude 9.0 earthquake and tsunami strike the Pacific Northwest, which seismologists say could happen in our lifetime, it will likely be the worst natural disaster in U.S. history.
Thousands may die. Coastal communities could be engulfed. And the region's economy could be set back for years.
To prepare for such a calamity, emergency officials over the past few years have been working together to hammer out contingency plans intended to lessen the loss of life and put the region in a better position to recover.
Waves of cargo planes and helicopters would be sent to the region, as well as tens of thousands of soldiers, emergency officials, mortuary teams, police officers, firefighters, engineers, medical personnel and others.