TSUNAMI WARNING EXERCISE SCHEDULED FOR APRIL 1
April 1, 2005 ó The NOAA National Weather Service and Hawaii's civil defense agencies will conduct a statewide tsunami warning and response exercise on April 1, kicking off Hawaii's Tsunami Awareness Month. Since the December 26 Indian Ocean tsunami tragedy, world attention has been increasingly focused on efforts to improve tsunami detection and warnings and the efforts to educate the public about potential tsunami threats. A tsunami warning system has been in place in Hawaii since 1949. To stay tsunami prepared, Hawaii holds annual drills and public awareness activities, such as Tsunami Awareness Month. (Click image for larger view of wreckage of a political party clubhouse in Hilo, Hawaii, following a tsunami that was generated by the earthquake of April 1, 1946, in the Aleutian Islands, Alaska. Every house on the main street facing Hilo Bay was washed across the street and smashed against the buildings on the other side. Houses were overturned, railroads ripped from their roadbeds, coastal highways buried and beaches washed away. The waters off the island were dotted with floating houses, debris and people. Photo courtesy of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.)
"We will conduct a statewide tsunami exercise on April 1 with all government partners participating," said Ed Teixiera, vice director of Hawaii Civil Defense. "Last year we practiced a local tsunami drill, but this year the exercise is based on a larger teletsunami generated by a magnitude 8.0 earthquake in the Aleutian Islands, similar to the one of April 1, 1946. The exercise kicks off Tsunami Awareness Month, conducted in Hawaii every April to commemorate the lives of those lost in 1946. It gives us an opportunity through public events and activities to remind our residents how to protect themselves during a tsunami."
"An established warning system and statewide exercises like this help make Hawaii arguably the most tsunami ready state in the nation. These drills are the key to future safety," said retired Navy Vice Admiral Conrad C. Lautenbacher, Jr., Ph.D., undersecretary of commerce for oceans and atmosphere and NOAA administrator. "This type of statewide tsunami preparedness test will become a standard part of NOAA's commitment to better engage and inform the public as we build a nationwide tsunami detection and warning system." (Click NOAA image for larger view of destructive ocean wave breaking on a beach in Hawaii following a tsunami that was generated by the earthquake of April 1, 1946, in the Aleutian Islands, Alaska. In this area east of Hilo, Hawaii, waves were 6.1 m (20 feet) high overtopping the breakwater. These catastrophic waves engulfed the Hawaiian Islands suddenly and unexpectedly. Please credit “NOAA.”)
"One of the best ways a community can prepare is by participating in NOAA's TsunamiReady Program," said Charles McCreery, director of the Richard H. Hagemeyer Pacific Tsunami Warning Center in Ewa Beach, Hawaii. "In Hawaii, both Kauai and Maui counties are recognized as TsunamiReady because they met the criteria, which includes having a 24-hour emergency operations center, redundant ways to receive and issue warning information, an evacuation plan and public outreach programs." (Click image for larger view of the Hilo, Hawaii, destruction left in the wake of tsunami generated by earthquake of May 22, 1960, off the coast of Chile. The Waiakea area of Hilo, Hawaii, was 10,000 km (more than 6,000 miles) from the generating area. Parking meters were bent by the force of the debris-filled waves. This tsunami affected the entire Pacific Basin. Photo courtesy of the U.S. Navy.)
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