Surf's up!

The devastation caused by the Indian Ocean tsunami of December 2004 raised awareness and concerns about how well U.S. coastal communities are prepared for a similar event. The Government Accountability Office (GAO) today issued a report on federal and state efforts to mitigate tsunami risks and impacts.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) is the lead agency for tsunami detection and warning. The GAO report is based on NOAA's determination that the Pacific coast states of Alaska, California, Hawaii, Oregon, and Washington, as well as Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands, face the highest tsunami risk. The five states, together with NOAA, the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS), and the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) participate in the National Tsunami Hazard Mitigation Program (NTHMP). For this study, GAO visited those states and twelve at-risk communities, two of which were in Hawaii - Hilo and Honolulu.

Hawaii also plays an important role for tsunamis as the Pacific Tsunami Warning Center, one of two tsunami warning centers operated by NOAA's National Weather Service (NWS). is located in Ewa Beach. The other center, the West Coast & Alaska Tsunami Warning Center is in Palmer, Alaska.

U.S. TSUNAMI PREPAREDNESS: Federal and State Partners Collaborate to Help Communities Reduce Potential Impacts, but Significant Challenges Remain, GAO-06-519, June 5, 2006
     Full report (pdf, 2.5MB, 65p.)
     Highlights (pdf, 44KB, 1p.)
     Abstract (html)

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