While most people automatically think of the Pacific ocean when it comes to America’s vulnerability to tsunamis, the Atlantic seaboard, Florida, and even the Gulf of Mexico are not completely immune to the phenomenon.
A list of known or suspected Atlantic Tsunamis includes:
- November 1, 1755 - Lisbon, Portugal
- October 11, 1918 - Puerto Rico
- November 18, 1929 - Newfoundland
- August 4, 1946 - Dominican Republic
- August 18, 1946 - Dominican Republic
- November 14, 1840 - Great Swell on the Delaware River
- November 17, 1872 - Maine
- January 9, 1926 - Maine
- May 19, 1964 - Northeast USA
- June 9, 1913 - Longport, NJ
- August 6, 1923 - Rockaway Park, Queens, NY. An article on triplicate waves."
- August 8, 1924 - Coney Island, NY. Contains a discussion, “An Observed Tsunami Building In Coastal Waters?"
- August 19, 1931 - Atlantic City, NJ
- September 21, 1938 - Hurricane, NJ coast.
- July 3-4, 1992 - Daytona Beach, FL
The last suspected entry – the infamous Daytona Beach `rogue wave’ of 1992 - was described by witnesses as being between 10 and 18 feet tall, slammed onto a 27 mile stretch of Florida Beaches and smashed hundreds of cars and caused as many as 75 (mostly minor) injuries.
Hawaii and the west coast are, of course, at considerably greater risk due to the seismically active `ring of fire’.
Tomorrow, as part of the nation’s Tsunami Awareness Week, emergency managers and agencies will hold two tsunami exercises. One, in the Pacific, and one in the Caribbean.
The Atlantic exercise is an international exercise involving dozens of nations, and is called CARIBE WAVE 11/LANTEX 11.
It will will simulate a widespread Tsunami Warning and Watch situation throughout the Caribbean as a result of a fictional major earthquake 25 miles southeast of Fajardo, Puerto Rico.
The `playbook’ for this exercise is available HERE.
The Pacific exercise is called Pacifex11 and simulates a 9.0 earthquake and resultant 5 meter tsunami emanating from 95 west of Eugene Oregon.
The playbook can be viewed here.
NOAA released a statement on Tsunami Awareness week yesterday, which includes details on some of the planned events.
National Tsunami Awareness Week: March 20-26
March 21, 2011
In the wake of Japan’s tsunami disaster, NOAA is urging Americans who live and vacation at the coast to take the threat of tsunamis seriously. With more coastline than any other country in the world and proximity to several major fault lines, the Pacific, Atlantic, Gulf and Caribbean coasts of the United States are vulnerable to tsunamis. NOAA’s National Weather Service, which operates the U.S. tsunami detection and warning system, says that the key to surviving a tsunami is staying informed and moving quickly to higher ground when a tsunami threatens.
NOAA maintains a Tsunami page with animations and videos, some of which are geared to young children.
For more information on how to prepare for a possible tsunami visit http://www.tsunamiready.noaa.gov/