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West Coast Girds For More Tsunami Debris This Winter

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Debris from the massive tsunami that struck Japan in March, 2011 has started washing ashore in Alaska and the West Coast of the U.S. . (credit: MIKE CLARKE/AFP/Getty Images)

Debris from the massive tsunami that struck Japan in March, 2011 has started washing ashore in Alaska and the West Coast of the U.S. . (credit: MIKE CLARKE/AFP/Getty Images)

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LOS ANGELES (AP) — The West Coast this winter is bracing for more sightings of debris washed away by the Japan tsunami.

Last year’s disaster swept about 5 million tons of debris into the Pacific. Most of that sank. No one knows how much tsunami debris is still adrift.

Flotsam has already washed up in the Pacific Northwest and Hawaii this year including small fishing boats, soccer balls and a huge dock. Like the past winter, scientists expect the bulk of the debris to end up once again in Alaska, Washington state, Oregon and British Columbia. Recent storm activity means debris could also reach the Northern California coastline.

Federal authorities have received more than 1,000 potential sightings of tsunami debris but have only been able to confirm 17 items.

 

Copyright 2012 The Associated Press.

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