Emergency Officials Prepare for Potential Maine Tsunamis

As part of an overall emergency response improvement plan, emergency management agencies in Maine are making preparations for the event that a tsunami hits the state.

Tsunamis were long thought to be disasters only tropical islands and the West Coast had to worry about. However, it turns out, tsunamis have actually occurred off the coast of Maine – just not of the large scale type that causes shoreline and mainland devastation like the 2005 Indian Ocean tsunami or the 2011 Japan tsunami that caused the Fukushima disaster.

According to an article published by the Bangor Daily News and the Maine Sun Journal, recent research found that “quite a few” tsunamis have disturbed Maine’s coastline or offshore waters since as far back as the late 1800s. The most recent noted one happened in 2008 in Boothbay Harbor, where a tidal surge quickly emptied and refilled the harbor repeatedly.

Officials met in 2009 and 2010 to discuss potential scenarios for how tsunamis might affect Maine. Some scenarios described tsunamis starting near the Maine coast and hitting the shore within minutes, others indicated there would probably be several hours of advance warning.

Kitty Fahey of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s (NOAA) Coastal Services Center talked about the response plan in a prepared statement last week.

“Under many scenarios, emergency managers would have five to six hours to clear Maine’s coastal populations from the danger zone,” said Fahey. “With the aid of geological analysis, animated visuals and customized communication strategies, (MEMA) and coastal county emergency managers have sized up the nature of the threat and established a plan to mobilize for action as efficiently as possible.”

A major part of the response plan would be to use social media as a way to warn residents, particularly in rural areas where responders would not be able to go door-to-door quickly.

 

For more information, see the original article here: http://www.sunjournal.com/news/0001/11/30/emergency-officials-plan-maine-tsunami-response/1477304
To learn more about the risk of tsunamis on the East Coast, visit this website: http://www.tsunami.noaa.gov/