All tsunamis are potentially dangerous, even though they may not damage every coastline they strike. A tsunami can strike anywhere along most of the U.S. coastlines. Earthquake-induced movement of the ocean floor most often generates tsunamis. If a major earthquake or landslide occurs close to shore, the first wave in a series could reach the beach in a few minutes, even before a warning is issued. Areas are at greater risk if they are less than 25 feet above sea level and within a mile of the shoreline. Drowning is the most common cause of death associated with a tsunami. Tsunami waves and the receding water are very destructive to structures in the run-up zone. Other hazards include flooding, contamination of drinking water, and fires from gas lines or ruptured tanks.
What should I do to prepare for or in the event of a Tsunami?
- Head for higher ground
- Stay away from floodwater. You can protect yourself best by being prepared and having time to act.
- You can protect your home best by taking measures to reduce potential flood damage (such as using sandbags during heavy rainfall)
- Local radio or television stations or a NOAA weather radio are the best sources of information in a flood/tsunami situation for official weather and weather-related bulletins.
Tsunami Preparedness Video
This video was produced by the United States Geological Survey, and focuses on the tsunami hazard to southern California. Included in the video are comments by Mike Rose, Dana Point's Director of Disaster Preparedness.