Before an Event
Know the Signs
Where Should I Go?
Tsunami Risk Information
Tsunami Travel Times
This site has been developed by the
National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) in partnership with the State of Hawai'i.
For feedback, contact the NOAA Pacific Services Center
Remain at least 100 feet away from inland waterways and marinas connected to the ocean due to wave surges and possible flooding.
If possible, remove or deploy vessels to deep water (at least 200 fathoms).
Structural steel or reinforced concrete buildings of six or more stories provide increased protection on or above the third floor.
The evacuation zone is a guideline and should be considered the minimum safe evacuation distance.
These maps do not consider the destructive effects of a locally generated tsunami. If you feel shaking, move inland immediately, well away from the evacuation zone.
The tsunami evacuation zone maps have been updated for O'ahu. These new maps were developed using updated scientific techniques and technology, and were produced in conjunction with County Public Safety Officials. The new tsunami evacuation zone maps for O`ahu can also be found on the Department of Emergency Management Website or the CCH Public GIS Ftp site, or in the 2011 Hawaiian Telcom Yellow Pages.
These tsunami evacuation zone maps are identical to those located in the front section of your phone book. They are based on data from tsunamis that have hit Hawai'i in the past and represent the best information available at this time. The University of Hawai'i, under direction of State Civil Defense, is currently using the latest scientific techniques and technology to improve this information. Once this is complete, county governments will be able to update their tsunami evacuation zones, if necessary.
You cannot prevent a tsunami but you can be prepared for one. Actions you take now could save your life and the lives of your friends and family in an emergency.
Your family may not be together when disaster strikes, so it is important to plan in advance.
Developing a family emergency plan will provide your family with information that could save lives and protect property.
Emergency preparedness kits should contain the essentials your family needs to survive during a disaster. It may take 72 hours or more for emergency personnel to reach you. Don't wait, hundreds of other families in your area share the same concerns, and it will be difficult to get access to the necessities you need due to shortages and competition.
CURRENT TSUNAMI BULLETINS FOR HAWAI'I
NOAA Pacific Tsunami Warning Center
NOAA's Pacific Tsunami Warning Center (PTWC) has responsibility for tsunami monitoring and the subsequent issuance of any necessary watches or warnings for Hawai`i.
To learn more about the tsunami warning system visit the NOAA Tsunami Website
The Hawai'i State Emergency Alert System (EAS) is used to notify the public of a possible approaching tsunami. A steady three minute siren tone is the attention alert signal. Turn on the nearest radio or television and listen for emergency information and instructions.
In some cases not all radio or television stations may be able to transmit. As part of the EAS particular radio stations have been designated as primary sources for information. Click the link below to find out more about these stations.
The State and County Civil Defense Agencies test the EAS at 11:15 a.m. on the first workday of the month. When you hear the test sirens or your radio or television program is interrupted this is your opportunity to think about what you will do when it's not a test.
If you are in a low lying area near the coast or in the tsunami evacuation zone during a significant earthquake get to higher ground outside of the tsunami evacuation zone immediately, a locally generated tsunami could reach the shore within minutes.
See your local civil defense agency for specific information on tsunami shelters and other specific evacuation instructions for your community.
Boats are safer from tsunami damage while in the deep ocean rather than moored in a harbor or bay. U.S. Coast Guard guidelines suggest deployment to water depths of at least 1,200 feet (200 fathoms).
Tsunami waves cannot be surfed. Contrary to popular belief tsunamis do not curl or have a surfable face, rather they are more like a rapidly rising tide or wall of water that are often full of debris. Never attempt to ride a tsunami.
To reduce your risk you must first understand the tsunami threat.
A tsunami (Japanese for "harbor waves") is a series of ocean waves produced by a sudden rise or fall in the earth's crust, most commonly caused by an earthquake or underwater landslide. In the open ocean tsunami waves cannot be seen or felt by ships or airplanes because the unbreaking waves are actually hundreds of miles wide with a height of only a few feet. But as the waves approach the coast their height increases dramatically and can be very destructive when they reach the shore. To learn more about tsunamis visit the following website.
Locally generated tsunamis resulting from earthquakes or landslides within the Hawaiian Islands can arrive at the coast within minutes, even before a warning can be issued. If you are near the shore and feel the ground shake move inland to higher ground immediately. The Hawaiian Islands are also vulnerable to Pacific-wide tsunamis. These tsunamis result from distant earthquakes and/or landslides in places like Chile, Alaska, and Japan and can arrive in Hawaiian waters within hours.
To understand your individual risk, find out if the places you and your family live and work are in or near the tsunami evacuation zones. These maps are available from this website and in the front section of all phonebooks. To learn about historical tsunamis that have impacted Hawai'i visit the following websites:
Locally generated tsunamis can arrive along our coastline within minutes of a significant earthquake. Earthquakes and landslides off the Kona coast of the Big Island pose a serious local tsunami hazard for Hawai'i. This map shows modeled arrival times (in minutes) of the first wave of the tsunami. The tsunmi would reach the Kona coast within 5 minutes, and the southern shores of Maui, Moloka'i, and O'ahu in less than 30 minutes.
Distant source tsunamis may take several hours to arrive on Hawai'i's shores. The April 1, 1946 Pacific-wide tsunami was caused by a magnitude 7.3 Ms earthquake that occurred south of Unimak Island, Alaska. The first waves arrived in Hawai'i in under 5 hours causing extensive destruction along the shorelines of the Hawaiian Islands. Wave heights across the Islands reached an estimated maximum of 55 feet, 36 feet and 33 feet on Hawai'i, O'ahu, and Maui, respectively and reached a half a mile inland in some locations. A total of 159 people were killed as a result of the tsunami in Hawai'i, 96 in Hilo alone, where the city`s entire waterfront was destroyed.