SAN JOSE, Calif., July 5 (UPI) -- Vast amounts of debris from the Japanese earthquake and tsunami are heading across the Pacific and will eventually hit the U.S. territory, experts warn.
"Can you imagine San Francisco put through a shredder? A big grinder? The area north of Tokyo was basically shredded. We are going to see boats, parts of homes, lots of plastic bottles, chair cushions, kids' toys, everything," oceanographer Curtis Ebbesmeyer told the San Jose (Calif.) Mercury News.
Scientists say computer models indicate the wreckage from the March 11 disaster, now scattered across hundreds of miles of ocean, will hit Midway and the northwestern Hawaiian Islands by next spring and West Coast beaches in 2013 or early 2014.
The debris is moving east at about 10 miles a day, spread over an area as big as California, Ebbesmeyer estimates.
"I've seen pieces of wood float for 20 or 30 years," he said. "I have Jeep tires with wheels that floated for 30 years. Things float a lot longer than you think."
National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration satellites tracked the refuse for a month, but by April 14, it was dispersed too widely to be detected.