Use this app to see how you would need to respond in case of a severe tsunami.
A volcanic eruption near Tonga, in the Pacific Islands, triggered a tsunami advisory for the entire West Coast on Saturday. For some, this prompted alarm, while for others (mostly risk-taking surfers), this called for an opportunity to ride the wave.
While the damage was minimal for most of Southern California, causing waves that were one to two feet tall, it’s worth knowing what to do and how at-risk you are in the event of a more serious tsunami.
Tsunamis happen when there is a profound and sudden displacement of the ocean, often caused by earthquakes or volcanic eruptions. This creates a radiating wave from the center point into deep water that can travel faster than a jet.
When the water slows down as it reaches land, the height increases and can seem like a giant wall of water pacing towards you. Not even Usain Bolt would be able to outrun something of this scale and speed, so your best bet is to be prepared and to heed warnings when they occur.
According to the map, LA County would have less than six hours to respond. Long Beach, Huntington Beach, and Santa Monica would be amongst the worst affected areas. That may seem like a fair amount of time, but when you add up the time it would take for officials to assess the risk and send out a warning (plus the traffic), it may not amount to that much.
- Credit: tsnunami.ca.gov
To use the map, simply enter your address to see if you’re in a high-risk zone. If it’s highlighted in yellow, you would need to move to a green zone by foot immediately after feeling a strong, prolonged earthquake or hearing a loud roar from the ocean.
You can find more information on how to plan your evacuation and to prepare in the event of a tsunami here.