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Tsunami

What is a tsunami?

A tsunami is a series of fast moving waves produced during large scale ocean disturbances.  A tsunami can occur with very little warning; caused by a variety of natural or technological events, such as earthquakes, volcanic eruptions, explosions, landslides, and meteorite impacts.

A tsunami is different from regular ocean waves in several ways:

Because of the limited warning time for a tsunami, it is very important for you to plan and prepare your family or household for a tsunami in advance.

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What can you do to prepare for a tsunami?

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How you will be advised of a Tsunami Warning?

In Australia, the Joint Australian Tsunami Warning Centre (JATWC) is jointly operated by the Bureau of Meteorology and Geoscience Australia.  The JATWC detects and verifies any tsunami threat to the coastline of Australia and its offshore territories. 

Warnings will be relayed through Emergency Authorities via official channels (eg Emergency Alert, radio, television, sign boards and the internet), Lifeguards, Surf Lifesavers and/or unofficial channels (eg face to face or verbal announcement).

Depending on the level of threat determined by the JATWC the Bureau of Meteorology may issue a Tsunami Warning restricted to the marine environment and immediate foreshore area for parts of the Australian coastline.  Tune into warnings via Emergency Alert, the radio, television, ‘1300 TSUNAMI’ (1300 878 6264) or the Bureau of Meteorology’s website.

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What is the different between marine and land Tsunami Warnings?

  • Marine
    • A warning of potentially dangerous waves, strong ocean currents in the marine environment and the possibility of only some localised overflow on to the immediate foreshore.
  • Land
    • A warning for low-lying coastal areas of major land inundation, flooding dangerous waves and strong ocean currents.
    • Local emergency authorities may order evacuations of high risk areas.

Emergency Management Queensland provides advice on what to do and when warnings are issued. 

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What should you do when a Tsunami Warning is issued?

Land inundation threat

Marine and immediate foreshore threat

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What should you NOT do when a Tsunami Warning is issued?

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What can you DO after a tsunami?

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What should you NOT DO after a tsunami?

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How will I know that the tsunami threat is over?

Tsunami Warnings will be cancelled by the Joint Australian Tsunami Warning Centre when the main threat is deemed to have passed. 

Emergency authorities will inform the public when it is safe to return to the affected area.  This advice will be related through emergency authorities via official channels, such as radio, television, signboards or via the internet, ‘1300 TSUNAMI’ (1300 878 6264) or the Bureau of Meteorology’s website www.bom.gov.au/tsunami.

Caution should continue to be exercised.  Strong waves, current and abnormal sea levels may still affect some beaches, harbours and coastal waterways for hours, or even days after, depending on the location.

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Further information and reading:

Jointly operated by Bureau of Meteorology and Geoscience Australia, the JATWC detects and verifies any tsunami threat to the coastline of Australia and its offshore territories.

Bureau of Meteorology web site: www.bom.gov.au/tsunami

 

When disasters loom or a major emergency happens, Queenslanders will be alerted by the sound of the SEWS. 
http://www.disaster.qld.gov.au/Warnings_and_Alerts/About_SEWS.html

Emergency Alerts are sent by emergency services to landline telephones based on the location of the handset, and to mobile phones, based on the billing address.  In the case of an emergency you may receive a voice message on your landline or a text message on your mobile phone.  If you receive an Emergency Alert and want more information, follow the instructions in the message or go to website http://www.disaster.qld.gov.au/.

Free downloads Emergency Management Queensland
http://www.emergency.qld.gov.au/emq/css/beprepared.asp

Geoscience Australian web site:
http://www.ga.gov.au/hazards/tsunami/

Free brochure downloads through Emergency Management Australia website www.em.gov.au

A free brochure download from Emergency Management Australia www.em.gov.au

Free downloads from Australian Emergency Management www.em.gov.au

  • Contact your local council for further information relating to your specific community

 

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Last updated 18 December 2011