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Tsunami Messaging Project


Participants on this webinar are listed at the bottom of this page.

These are notes following the webinar-enabled discussion held March 6, 2014, about tsunami dangers – inundation.

The force of some tsunamis is enormous. Tons of rocks, boats, and other large debris can move inland hundreds of feet. Debris can act like a battering ram. All this material and water can trap, kill or injure people, and damage property.

  • the word “trap” makes the large debris “more real.”
  • the analogy of something familiar – debris as a battering ram – allows the reader to form an image. Reading science proves this. Using common analogies improves comprehension and retention.
  • pointing out that debris is a major hazard unto itself.
  • “what a tsunami is like” and “what it is capable of doing” are powerful and important.
  • the word “threat” is more conceptual than the word “danger.” Threats are potential things, but danger is more real and less ambiguous.

As tsunamis move into shallow water, the wave height can increase by over 10 times.

  • need to accompany a visual that shows something 3 feet high reaching 30 feet high (3-story building.)
  • As the tsunami attacks the coastline, it can rise … “tsunami attack” catches attention

Why do people need to know that tsunamis can rise to great heights?

  • when look out to sea, you won't see a big wall of water. You may see a wave growing as it approaches the shore.

Tsunamis move faster than a person can run.

  • Many people make the deadly mistake that a tsunami is like regular ocean waves. A tsunami is like a quickly rising tide. What you see is not what you get (at first.)
  • A small wave out at sea will stay small as it reaches shore.
  • If you wait until you can see a tsunami, it may be too late to get to safety.

Distance inland – In certain areas where topography is flat…

  • Sometimes, tsunamis can travel miles inland, especially up rivers or streams.
  • Include in context of why you are telling them this.
  • Tsunamis come in different sizes and some of them can travel miles inland. A tsunami will not behave exactly the same in all locations along the coastline.

Receding wave can cause just as much damage and danger (you can get pulled out to sea.)

  • after wave comes in, when it goes out (receding wave), it draws out with a lot of debris in it and it can cause damage and danger.
  • successive waves often have more debris in them and can be more dangerous.
  • During a tsunami when the water flows back out to sea, it can still be dangerous. It is filled with debris and swift currents.

When the water goes down, the danger is not over. Expect another round of flooding and debris.

  • declarative sentences are important.
  • stay on high ground until you hear from local media that it is safe. (stay out of the tsunami danger zone.)
  • when appropriate, put in a direction statement at the end. Calls to action or clear action directive statements once a reason has been provided are important.

03/06/2014 webinar participants

Amanda Admire Eureka CA Redwood Coast Tsunami Work Group
Nicolas Arcos Honolulu HI ITIC
Donna Hughes Crescent City CA Redwood Coast Tsunami Work Group
Rocky Lopes Silver Spring MD NWS HQ Tsunami Program
Jeff Lorens Salt Lake City UT NWS Western Region
Kevin Miller San Francisco CA CalOES
Sue Perry Pasadena CA USGS SAFRR Program
Cindy Pridmore Sacramento CA California Geological Survey
Christa Rabenold Silver Spring MD NWS HQ Tsunami Program
Althea Rizzo Salem OR OEM
Jeannette Sutton Colorado Springs CO University of Colorado
Wendy Vaughon New York NY Columbia University
Justin Van Es Pearl Harbor HI Joint Typhoon Warning Center
Walt Zaleski Fort Worth TX NWS Southern Region
*Christina Zarcadoolas New York NY Columbia University

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messagenotes03062014.txt · Last modified: 2014/05/13 14:04 by christa