Study reveals more precise tsunami warning times for Island communities

Study reveals more precise tsunami warning times for Island communities

Ocean Networks Canada, based at the University of Victoria, has released new tsunami modelling in time for Emergency Preparedness Week in B.C.

Many communities on the North Island, including Tahsis, Zeballos, Kyuquot, Port Alice and Gold River, will have the most precise information yet on what would happen if a tsunami hits.

“We have done the first sophisticated tsunami modelling for this area,” said Soroush Kouhi, ONC Applied Science specialist and co-author of the report.

“We did seafloor mapping, we have created digital models which are essentially the elevation of the land and the elevation of the seafloor,” he said.

The study looked at the expected height, velocities, inundation and arrival times of potential tsunami waves and the areas that would be hardest hit in B.C.

It was a combination of modelling science and learning from First Nations who have had stories about big waves passed down through the generations.

“Basically with that information, it allows communities and municipalities to basically perform not only emergency planning like where to put the caches, where to send the First Responders but also think about the long term future such as where not to build,” added BenoĂ®t Pirenne, ONC’s director of User Engagement.

A new documentary currently being shown on a tour of Island communities looks at the science and the risk a tsunami could pose.

“The wave and all that water will go into the inlet and will tend to go back out, but before it has time to go out of it, it will be pushed back by the next wave that will follow and over time and for several hours there an accumulation of water,” said Pirenne.

Tsunami waves generated by a magnitude 9.0 earthquake in the Cascadia subduction zone would reach local communities such as Kyuquot in less than 30 minutes — with an estimated wave height of 5.9 metres reaching the shore followed by runup on the land that may exceed 12 metres of elevation.

A summary of the report and links can be found here.

Dean StoltzDean Stoltz

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