Safety at Sea?
We recently received an inquiry about protecting your boat from the impact of a tsunami by going "to sea". According to the experts, you are relatively safe only if you are in open waters of at least 200 fathoms (1,200 feet). Click here to see more about tsunami safety for boaters.
Tsunami sirens are tested every other month on the first Monday of the month at 12:00 noon. Test tones are different than the actual "siren" sound.
CLICK HERE to hear what the test sounds like. The duration of the test tone sequence is about 5 seconds.
CLICK HERE to hear the actual emergency warning siren. The duration of the actual emergency siren is 30 seconds.
Point Hudson "All Hazards Alert Broadcast" (AHAB) unit, one of three AHAB tsunami "sirens" in the Port Townsend area. The first AHAB in Washington State was installed at the Port Townsend Marina in 2003. A unit similar to the Point Hudson siren is located on the beach near the campground at Fort Worden. AHABs can be activated by satellite from the State Emergency Operations Center or by radio from the Jefferson County EOC. There are currently 45 AHAB installations in Washington State.
General Notes About Tsunami Alerts:
Information Statements are issued by the Tsunami Warning Centers when a strong earthquake has occurred but is unlikely to generate a tsunami in this area. A tsunami near the point of origin may be possible, but it is not likely to propagate beyond the immediate surroundings.
Watch this video prepared by the Washington Department of Emergency Management.
Tsunami Watches are issued when an earthquake has occurred that is strong enough to have produced a tsunami, but there is no confirmation. The Tsunami Warning Center will investigate, and issue an ADVISORY or WARNING if observations show a tsunami has been generated that will impact this area.
Tsunami Advisories mean a tsunami has been generated but the impact locally should not extend beyond the high water line (shoreline). Inundation beyond the beach is not expected. Hazardous currents can occur, and the recommended action is to stay off docks and piers and away from the beach.
Tsunami Warning means inundation beyond the shoreline is very possible (the distance inshore depends on the size of the approaching wave energy). It is not usually known in advance how far inland the inundation will go, but the best safety margin is inland and uphill to a location more than 50 feet above sea level. Remember, the first wave may not be the highest, and damaging wave action can continue for several hours.
Tsunami Alert Receivers:
The recommended method for receiving tsunami alerts is having a NOAA Alert Receiver (also known as a NOAA Weather Radio). They can be programmed to receive only information pertaining to Jefferson County, and are silent until an alert has been issued (except for a test tone and message sent each Wednesday at noon). For more information on NOAA Alert Receivers click here.