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Is America Tsunami Ready?

They're massive walls of water, moving toward the coastline at hundreds of miles per hour. We're talking about tsunamis. They've pounded places like Japan and Indonesia. Is the U.S. next? Read Transcript


Mark: DECEMBER 26th,

2004, A MAGNITUDE 9

EARTHQUAKE GENERATES THE

WORLD'S DEADLIEST TSUNAMI IN

RECORDED HISTORY.

THE QUAKE HAPPENED AROUND

7:00 IN THE MORNING.

BY NOON, THE INDONESIAN

TSUNAMI KILLED MORE THAN

230,000 PEOPLE.

AS HUGE WAVES FLOODED COAST

LINES AROUND THE INDIAN

OCEAN BASIN.

IT WAS A WAKEUP CALL FOR

SCIENTISTS.

ONE OF THE THINGS WE

LEARNED FROM THAT IS ALL

COASTAL AREAS, NO MATTER

WHAT WE CONSIDER A THREAT,

SHOULD BE PR PROTECTED BY A

TSUNAMI WARNING SYSTEM.

Reporter: SCIENTISTS

NOW ALSO MONITOR THE EAST

COAST, THE GULF COAST,

PUERTO RICO AND THE VIRGINIA

ISLANDS.

ALL POTENTIAL TARGETS.

AFTER THE INDONESIAN

TSUNAMI, THE STATION

STATIONED TWO SCIENTISTS AT

EACH STATION.

THE TECHNOLOGY TO MONITOR

TSUNAMIS HAS IMPROVED

DRAMATICALLY SINCE 2004,

THANKS IN PART TO NEW

FORECASTING SOFTWARE AND

COMPUTER TECHNIQUES.

ACCURACY AND WARNINGS HAVE

IMPROVED.

WHEN I FIRST STARTED HERE

IN 1986, OUR REQUIREMENT WAS

TO GET WARNINGS OUT IN 15

MINUTES.

TODAY WE AVERAGE LESS THAN

THREE MINUTES, RIGHT AT

THREE MINUTES, FOR OR

RESPONSE CAPABILITIES, FOR

EVENTS THAT ARE NEAR U.S. OR

CANADIAN AREAS.

Reporter: ONE EXAMPLE

OF ADVANCED TECHNOLOGY THAT

HAS IMPROVED WARNING SPEED

AND ACCURACY IS TH DART.

DART STANDS FOR DEEP OCEAN

ASSESSMENT AND REPORTING OF

TSUNAMI.

BEFORE THE 2004 TSUNAMI,

ONLY SIX BUOYS FLOATED IN

THE OCEAN.

NOW THE U.S. HAS CLOSE TO

40.

THEY CAN MEASURE A TSUNAMI

WAVE AS SMALL AS ONE

CENTIMETRE IN THE OPEN

OCEAN.

THE INFORMATION IS SENT BACK

TO A WARNING CENTER, WHERE

SCIENTISTS USE COMPUTER

TECHNOLOGY TO PROCESS IT AND

THEN ISSUE A FORECAST.

TODAY WE CAN DO A MUCH

BETTER JOB OF SAYING YOUR

WAVE IS GOING TO ARRIVE IN

TWO HOURS, 35 MINUTES,

APPROXIMATELY, AND IT IS

GOING TO BE THREE FEET

HIGH.

Reporter: NO MATTER HOW

SOPHISTICATED THE

TECHNOLOGY, IF PEOPLE IGNORE

THE WARNINGS, LIVES WILL BE

LOST.

THAT'S WHERE EDUCATION COMES

IN.

AS THE NOAH TSUNAMI PROGRAM

MANAGER FOR THE ALASKA

REGION, IT IS CINDY'S JOB TO

GET THE WARNING OUT.

WE SPENT A LOT OF TIME

WITH THE CHILDREN AND THE

SCHOOLS.

BECAUSE WE LEARNED THAT

CHILDREN ARE THE BEST

TEACHERS.

WE REALLY WORK WITH THE KIDS

AS MUCH AS WE CAN, BECAUSE

THE KIDS WILL CHALLENGE

TEACH LIAR PARENTS.

Reporter: LESSONS

INCLUDE IN YOU FEEL THE

GROUND SHAKING, DUCK, COVER,

AND COUNT FOR 20 SECONDS.

IF YOU'RE NEAR THE OCEAN,

EVACUATE QUICKLY.

WE HAVE, IN JAPAN'S CASE,

IN 2011, LESS THAN TWO

MINUTES WHEN THE WAVE WAS

ACTUALLY ARRIVING.

SO YOU HAVE TO KNOW WHAT TO

DO IMMEDIATELY, AS SOON AS

YOU FEEL THE GROUND

SHAKING.

Reporter: SCIENTISTS

SAY A GOOD RULE TO FOLLOW IS

HEAD 100 FEET ABOVE SEA

LEVEL OR A MILE INLAND.

DON'T WAIT FOR WARNINGS.

NO COMMUNITY IS

TSUNAMI-PROOF, BUT

POPULATION CENTERS CAN

BECOME WHAT IS CALLED

TSUNAMI READY.

I'M HERE IN STUART, ALASKA,

WHERE CITY LEADERS HAVE SET

THE EXAMPLE IN MAKING SURE

RESIDENTS ARE PREPARED.

DAVID

IS A RETIRED FIRE

CHIEF OF STUART.

HIS COMMUNITY BECAME TSUNAMI

READY BY COMMUNICATING

SAFETY REQUIREMENTS.

IT IS NOT IF, IT'S WHEN.

IT WILL HAPPEN AGAIN.

AND WE'VE GOT TO BE PREPARED

FOR THAT.

THERE IS AN EARTHQUAKE EVERY

DAY IN THE STATE OF ALASKA

SOME PLACE.

Reporter: AROUND TOWN

YOU'LL FIND SIRENS, AND

SIGNS MARKING THE TSUNAMI

EVACUATION ROUTE.

EMERGENCY MANAGERS HERE TAKE

IT VERY SERIOUSLY.

THESE ARE THE GUYS THAT

MAKE THE PROGRAM WORK.

ANNUALLY WE DO A LIVE TEST

EVERY YEAR TO COINCIDE WITH

THE ANNIVERSARY OF THE GREAT

QUAKE IN 1964.

Reporter: MARCH 1964, A

LARGE EARTHQUAKE DESTROYED

THE COASTLINE.

W.C.CASEY WAS 12 YEARS OLD

AT THE TIME, AND EVACUATED

WITH HIS FAMILY.

MY DAD, ACTUALLY,

AFTERWARDS, SAID AS WE WERE

GOING THROUGH THE BOAT

HARBOR AREA AND UP THE HILL,

HE ACTUALLY SAW THE

TIDALWAVE COMING BEHIND US.

ANY COASTAL COMMUNITY, IT IS

DEVASTATING, THE POWER AND

THE AWESOMENESS OF A

TSUNAMI.

IT IS AMAZING WHAT THAT

POWER WILL DO IN REGARDS TO

INFRASTRUCTURE AND PEOPLE

LIKE ANTS IN A TSUNAMI.

Reporter: THAT'S WHY

SCIENTISTS WORK TO HONE

THEIR TSUNAMI FORECASTING

SKILLS, AND ENCOURAGE

COASTAL DWELLERS AND

VISITORS TO GET EDUCATED

ANDHEE AND HEED THE

WARNINGS.

MARK MARTIN, CBN NEWS.

EMBED THIS VIDEO


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