Although tsunamis move fast, there are warning signs. Pay attention to messages that come from your local agencies and be aware of environmental clues.
Official Tsunami Alerts
As with other natural disasters, local and national agencies issue tsunami watches and warnings.
- Tsunami Watch: It could happen! Prepare to evacuate, especially if the watch alert follows an earthquake or landslide. You may wish to evacuate early, if you have the means.
- Tsunami Warning: It’s coming! Move quickly to get away from the coast. Head to a shelter on high ground and enact your emergency preparedness plan. Bring your
emergency preparedness kitwith you.
If you’re not with your loved ones when a tsunami watch or warning is broadcast, contact them on the way to your predetermined shelter. Most coastal towns have marked evacuation routes and recommended evacuation locations. Your evacuation location should be far from the coast and 100′ or more above sea level.
If the tsunami warning is issued during an earthquake, first take cover if you’re indoors. Wait until the shaking stops, then evacuate the area. If you’ve been instructed to shelter in place by authorities, follow their directions.
Physical Signs of a Tsunami
Mother Nature doesn’t have access to your smartphone, but she issues her own tsunami alerts as well. You might hear loud roaring from the ocean and feel the ground shake as the wave approaches. If you’re near the coast and see the water recede quickly and much further than usual, this is a major indicator that a tsunami is approaching. Get your butt to higher ground immediately.