The weather service issued the advisory for the coastal areas of California, Oregon, Washington, British Columbia, Alaska, and the California/Mexico border. It said that, “If you are located in this coastal area, move off the beach and out of harbors and marinas.”
According to the weather service, “Tsunami advisories mean that a tsunami capable of producing strong currents or waves dangerous to persons in or very near the water is expected or is already occurring. Areas in the advisory should not expect widespread inundation. Tsunamis are a series of waves dangerous many hours after initial arrival time. The first wave may not be the largest.”
CBS News explained that, “A tsunami advisory is one level below a warning— and one step above a watch. It means dangerous waves of 1-3 feet and strong currents are expected.”
Potentially Destructive Natural Events
Some parts of the world are more vulnerable to this kind of crisis than others. Like any potential crisis, just because you were not affected by a tsunami today does not mean you won’t be impacted by one tomorrow.
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For example, ‘’Experts say a large tsunami could one day flood sizeable areas of Marina del Rey and Long Beach to an elevation of 15 feet, potentially threatening homes and lives,” CBS LA reported in 2021
Tsunamis are one of the most destructive events triggered by Mother Nature, according to one tsunami warning website. It noted that, “Tsunami wave trains can move as fast as an airplane in high seas. These extremely powerful tidal waves are capable of crushing everything found in their path. The deadliest tsunamis have formed in response to powerful seaquakes, underwater explosions and volcanic eruptions.”
Recent destructive tsunamis include
- Sunda Strait, Indonesia 2018: Java and Sumatra, Indonesia
- Palu, Sulawesi, Indonesia 2018: Palu bay, Indonesia
- Sendai, Japan 2011: Japan and other countries
- Maule, Chile 2010: Chile and other countries
- Sumatra, Indonesia 2004: Indonesia, Thailand, Sri Lanka, Maldives and other countries
Best Crisis Management Practices
In nature-related crisis situations such as this, it is a crisis management best practice for everyone—including companies and organizations—to follow the advice, guidance and directions of government officials.
It is highly unlikely that business leaders whose companies are located at or near today’s affected areas will have included a tsunami scenario in their crisis management plans of practice sessions—unless, of course, they experienced a similar crisis and know that it could happen again.
National Tsunami Warning System
According to the Redwood Coast Tsunami Work Group,” Tsunami warning systems detect earthquakes large enough to cause a tsunami and send warning bulletins before the waves arrive so that local authorities can evacuate vulnerable populations.”
Their website noted that the U.S. operates two tsunami warning centers, the Pacific Tsunami Warning Center in Hawaii covers Hawaii, the U.S. Pacific territories, and provides guidance to many other counties. The National Tsunami Warning Center has the responsibility of warning Canada and the rest of the United States, including California.
Effective Tsunami Warnings
According to the work group, “Official tsunami warnings are most effective when the tsunami source is more than 1,000 miles away, such as Alaska, Japan, or Chile. If the earthquake is located on a local fault, such as the Cascadia Subduction Zone, there is too little time for the National Tsunami Warning Center to get a warning to you.”
The First Tsunami Warning Systems
According to Wikipedia, ‘’The first rudimentary system to alert communities of an impending tsunami was attempted in Hawaii in the 1920s. More advanced systems were developed in the wake of the April 1, 1946 (caused by the 1946 Aleutian Islands earthquake) and May 23, 1960 (caused by the 1960 Valdivia earthquake) tsunamis which caused massive devastation in Hilo, Hawaii.
“While tsunamis travel at between 500 and 1,000 km/h (around 0.14 and 0.28 km/s) in open water, earthquakes can be detected almost at once as seismic waves travel with a typical speed of 4 km/s (around 14,400 km/h). This gives time for a possible tsunami forecast to be made and warnings to be issued to threatened areas, if warranted.
“Until a reliable model is able to predict which earthquakes will produce significant tsunamis, this approach will produce many more false alarms than verified warnings.”