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National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Pacific Marine Environmental Laboratory
NOAA Center for Tsunami Research NOAA

Problem: Tsunamis Threaten Puget Sound Coastal Residents and Businesses

Regional and local earthquakes and landslides have generated tsunamis in Puget Sound in the past and they will continue to generate tsunamis in the future. This issue was the focus of the January 23-24, 2001 "Puget Sound Tsunami/Landslide Workshop" organized by the Washington State Emergency Management Division, NOAA and the USGS. The Workshop provided a forum for more than 120 emergency managers, scientists, engineers and the public to develop a plan to address the tsunami hazard issue. The Summary Report can be obtained/viewed in PDF format).
Action Plan: Systematic Hazard Assessment and Mitigation

Assessment Component
(Quantify Community Risks)
  • Conduct Survey for Fine-Resolution Bathymetry and Topography

  • Construct High-Quality Digital Elevation Models

  • Quantify "Worst Case" Earthquake and Landslide Scenarios

  • Produce Community-Specific Tsunami Inundation Maps

Mitigation Component
(Develop Tsunami-Resistant Communities)

  • Analyze Threat to Infrastructure and Lifelines

  • Develop Evacuation and Hazard Mitigation Plans

  • Implement Public Education Program

Hypothetical Tsunami Generated on the Seattle Fault

Needed: Resources to Expand and Accelerate Current Activities

Existing efforts to assess and mitigate the Puget Sound tsunami hazard are underfunded and lack an overall strategy that integrates tsunami research, community planning and emergency response. An infusion of financial, technical and emergency management resources are required to develop and implement systematic, effective assessment and mitigation efforts. Resources are also needed for the design and development of a real-time, local Puget Sound Tsunami Warning System.
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