Huge waves up to 42 feet tall could engulf the whole of Seattle within minutes if an earthquake hitting the coast, a chilling simulation has shown.
The tsunami could reach as far as three miles inland of the city, which is home to 740,000 people, Washington researchers predicted.
Popular landmarks including the Seattle Great Wheel and Lumen Field stadium would be hit as the natural disaster wreaked devastation across the city.
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Researchers warned that although the 7.5-magnitude earthquake on the fault line is unlikely, locals should have an evacuation plan.
Hazard preparation expert Maximilian Dixon said: “Although the chances of this happening in our lifetime is low, it's important for families to get prepared now.
“The ground shaking will be your warning that a tsunami may be on the way.
“Make sure you know where the closest high ground is and the quickest route to get there. Get signed up for tsunami and local alerts.”
Whilst Hilary Franz, commissioner of public lands, warned the public to not dismiss the concerns.
She pointed out: “Most often, when we think of tsunamis, we think of our outer coast and communities along the Pacific Ocean.
“But there's a long history of earthquakes on faults in the Puget Sound.
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“While the history of earthquakes and tsunamis along the Seattle Fault is less frequent than the Cascadia subduction zone, the impacts could be massive.
“That's why it's critical these communities have the information they need to prepare and respond.”
The last earthquake to occur on the Seattle fault was over 1,000 years ago – but geologists said there have been five quakes in the area reaching a magnitude of around 6.5.
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