Tidal Waves or Tsunamis
Compiled by Dick Oakes
A tidal wave, or "tsunami" (pronounced soo-NAM-ee), is actually a series of waves caused by an underwater disturbance. Although most tsunamis are associated with large earthquakes whose epicenters underlie or border the ocean floor. Some of these resulted in coastal waves of 100 feet high that smashed into land with tremendous destructive power. The major tsunami detection and warning system is the Pacific Warning System of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), with headquarters at Ewa Beach Observatory near Honolulu, Hawaii.
- When a tidal wave or tsunami warning is issued, a tsunami exists!
- When you hear that an earthquake has occurred, stand by for a tsunami emergency.
- An earthquake in your area is a natural tsunami warning. Do not stay in low-lying coastal areas after a local earthquake.
- Never go down to the beach to watch for a tsunami. When you can see the wave you are too close to escape it!
- A tsunami is not a single wave but a series of waves. Stay out of danger areas until an "all clear" is issued by competent authority.
- Approaching tsunamis are sometimes heralded by a noticeable rise or fall of coastal water. This is nature's tsunami warning and should be heeded.
- A small tsunami at one beach can be a giant a few miles away. Don't let the modest size of one make you lose respect for all.
- All tsunamis are potentially dangerous, even though they may not damage every coastline they strike.
- Sooner or later, tsunamis visit every coastline. Warnings apply to you especially if you live in any coastal area.
- During a tsunami emergency, follow the instructions of local authorities on what to do and what not to do with respect to the emergency.