Tsunamis

Overview

A tsunami is a series of enormous ocean waves caused by earthquakes, underwater landslides, volcanic eruptions, or asteroids. A tsunami can kill or injure people and damage or destroy buildings and infrastructure as waves come in and go out. Tsunamis can:

  • Travel 20 to 30 miles per hour with waves 10 to 100 feet high.
  • Cause flooding and disrupt transportation, power, communications, and the water supply.
  • Happen anywhere along U.S. coasts. Coasts that border the Pacific Ocean or Caribbean have the greatest risk.

To assist in being prepared before, during, and after a tsunami, review the following links for helpful information.

  • Learn the signs of a potential tsunami, such as an earthquake, a loud roar from the ocean, or unusual ocean behavior, such as a sudden rise or wall of water or sudden draining of water showing the ocean floor.
  • Know and practice community evacuation plans. Some at-risk communities have maps with evacuation zones and routes. Map out your routes from home, work, and play. Pick shelters 100 feet or more above sea level, or at least one mile inland.
  • Create a family emergency communication plan that has an out-of-state contact. Plan where to meet if you get separated.
  • The Emergency Alert System (EAS) and National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Weather Radio also provide emergency alerts.
  • Consider earthquake insurance and a flood insurance policy through the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP). Standard homeowner's insurance does not cover flood or earthquake damage.