Tsunamis can strike anywhere along the U.S. coast. Typically, generated by an offshore earthquake, tsunamis can reach shorelines in minutes or travel hundreds of miles per hour to distant shores. Tsunamis can hit land with waves topping 100 feet in height, travel miles inland through low-lying areas, and deliver destruction through multiple waves.

If you are on or near a beach, or in a low-lying area near the ocean or a connected waterway, and you observe any of the following signs, evacuate immediately to higher ground:

  • Local officials issue a tsunami warning and mandatory evacuation.
  • You experience an earthquake that shakes so much you cannot stand, or it lasts longer than 20 seconds.
  • You notice water receding from the shoreline.
  • You are poolside at a resort and see a large wave approaching the shore or overtop the beach - and you have no time to evacuate to higher ground, move to the highest point of the hotel or resort. Do not use elevators.
  • You see any amount of water moving up a street from the direction of the beach, even if it seems inconsequential, immediately seek higher ground. Larger waves can follow an initial wave and inundate areas at much greater speeds leaving no time for anyone caught in its path to find safety.
  • When water from a wave recedes, remain in your place of safety. Always assume there will be another wave until local authorities officially announce the threat is over and it is safe.
  • Learn evacuation routes, assemble a family preparedness portable kit, and create your emergency plan to include a meeting place in and outside your neighborhood should your family become separated.
  • When traveling to coastal destinations anywhere in the world, take time to familiarize yourself with the local topography. Determine where you will go to find higher ground and how you and your family will get there if a tsunami warning is issued or if you observe any signs noted above.

Other disasters include:

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