The Pacific County Emergency Management Agency has rescheduled three public presentations about the potential impact to coastal communities from marine debris generated by the March 2011 Japanese tsunami.

The meetings now are slated for:

  • 6 p.m. Feb. 14, at the Peninsula Church Center in Seaview.
  • 10 a.m. Feb. 15 at the Ocean Park Firehall in Ocean Park.
  • 5:30 p.m. Feb. 15 at the Shoalwater Bay Tribal Center in Tokeland.

A blast of snowy and icy weather forced postponement of the meetings last month.

The regional coordinator for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Marine Debris Program will lead the presentation. In addition, representatives from the Washington State Department of Ecology, the Coast Guard, Washington State Emergency Management Division, and Washington State Department of Health have been invited to answer questions.

The first of the debris washed into the ocean by the giant sea wave is expected to start reaching the Pacific Northwest beaches shortly, though scientists estimate the bulk of the debris is still about a year away from making landfall.

No large pieces of debris are expected, but the sea junk could contain hazardous materials, sharp objects and other hazards that could injure people in the surf or on the beach, officials say. Officials also are encouraging beachcombers to be on alert for information that could help Japanese families learn more about the fate of loved ones who died in the massive earthquake and tsunami that it churned up.

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