I've always heard about tsunamis. I remember going to Hawaii back in 1975 and there was information on what to do in case of a tsunami in the phone book.
This earthquake (now listed as 9.0!) really let go a pretty good tsunami. I guess if you were on the beach, you would know that something really bad was about to take place when the ocean recedes 200 yards away from you. The death toll just keeps climbing - I've heard
24,000 33,000 46,000 80,000 116,000
The big deal in Chicago is that Oprah's great designer - Nate Berkus - was actually sleeping in beachfront cottage at Arugam Bay on Sri Lanka's eastern coast (earlier he was handing out backpacks to needy children) along with a friend (photographer Fernando Bengoechea) when the tsunami hit and they were swept out to sea. Bengoechea is still missing - Nate somehow survived after being dragged out into deep water with cars, refrigerators and bodies. They tried to cling to a telephone pole, but a second wave tore them loose. Berkus said he saved himself by clambering onto the roof of a home. He doesn't have anything left with him - he lost is passport and all his personal stuff, though he had a cell phone which has since died. Nate had said that he spent the night with about 50 other survivors in a field. "I'm sitting here with nothing — no passport, no money, no anything, in shorts that somebody gave me." There are reports that no one has heard from Nate in quite a while.
The earthquake was so massive that it actually caused the planet to wobble ever so slightly.
There are unconfirmed reports that the earth is now spinning 1/10,000 of a second faster per year because of this one earthquake. Richard Gross, a geophysicist with NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in California, theorized that a shift of mass toward the Earth's center during the quake Sunday caused the planet to spin 3 microseconds, or one millionth of a second, faster a day and to tilt about an inch on its axis.
A quick "celebrity" update: Sounds like there were quite a few "famous", almost-famous, and infamous people that were affected by the tsunami, other than Nate Berkus. Czech supermodel Petra Nemcova (of 2003 Sports Illustrated swimsuit issue cover fame) was carried away with her boyfriend, fashion photographer Simon Atlee at a Phuket resort, but was able to hang onto a tree for 8 hours with broken bones and possibly a broken pelvis. Her boyfriend is still misisng. Former German chancellor Helmut Kohl was on holiday in Sri Lanka's south, but apparently wasn't affected (Mr Kohl and his entourage were evacuated from a hotel by the Sri Lankan air force on Monday). Ingemar Stenmark, who won two gold medals at the 1980 Olympics for Sweden, was with friends in Khok Kloi, about 50km from Phuket and was not injured. Several Italian soccer players were in the Maldives but were unhurt. The Thai-American grandson of thailand's King Bhumibol Adulyadej, Bhumi Jensen, 21, was reportedly jet-skiing when the tidal wave struck Phuket. His body was found later. On Thailand's Phi Phi island, where The Beach, starring Leonardo DiCaprio, was filmed, 200 bungalows at two resorts were swept out to sea. Hollywood actor-director Richard Attenborough's granddaughter Lucy, 14, perished and his daughter, Jane, and her mother-in-law were missing in Phuket. Another granddaughter, Alice, 17, was being treated in a hospital. Jet Li and his daughter were vacationing in a resort in the Maldives when a wall of water surged into their hotel. Li was dinged by a piece of floating furniture and sustained an foot injury