Tsunami Mitigation

Tsunami Graphic

A tsunami is a series of waves that can be dangerous and destructive. They can be caused by underwater disturbances or earthquakes. When you hear a tsunami warning, move at once to higher ground and stay there until local authorities say it is safe to return home.

What can I do today?

  • Be familiar with the tsunami warning signs. A rapid rise or fall in coastal waters and a large earthquake are both signs to an approaching tsunami.

    Tsunami Evacuation Route sign    Tsunami Evacuation Area sign

  • Know the location of your local evacuation site. Most coastal communities have a designated area on high ground that the community will meet, e.g.: a school.
  • Know your community's warning siren or method of letting people know a tsunami is coming.
  • DO NOT go to the water to watch the tsunami come in!

For Schools and Educators

Good Tsunami Sites:

If you have questions about mitigation, e-mail Alaska's Hazard Mitigation Officer, Brent Nichols.

Tsunami Evacuation Maps

Community Tsunami Ready Community Distant Tsunami Potential Local Tsunami Potential Tsunami Siren Tsunami Evacuation Map/Brochure Population
Adak High Yes Yes 316
Akhiok Medium Yes Yes 80
Akutan Medium Yes Yes 713
Anchor Point Medium Yes 1845
Angoon Low Yes 572
Atka Medium Yes Yes 92
Attu Medium Yes 20
Chenega Bay Yes Medium Yes Yes Yes 86
Chignik Bay Low Yes 103
Chignik Lagoon Medium Yes 79
Chiniak Medium Yes 50
Coffman Cove Low Yes 199
Cold Bay Yes Medium Yes Yes Yes 103
Cordova Yes Medium Yes Yes 2571
Craig Yes Medium Yes Yes Yes 1397
Diomede Low Yes 146
Edna Bay Medium Yes 49
Elfin Cove Medium Yes 32
False Pass Medium Yes 64
Gambell Low No 649
Gustavus Medium Yes 429
Haines Low Yes 1811
Hollis Low Yes 139
Homer Yes Medium Yes Yes Yes 3946
Hoonah Low Yes 860
Hydaburg Low Yes 382
Hyder Low Yes 97
Ivanof Bay Medium Yes 22
Juneau/Douglas Low Yes 30711
Kake Low Yes Yes 710
Karluk Medium Yes Yes 27
Kasaan Low Yes 39
Kenai Low Yes Yes 7100
Ketchikan Yes Low Yes Yes 7922
King Cove Yes Medium Yes Yes 792
Klawock Low Yes 854
Kodiak City Yes Medium Yes Yes 13913
Kupreanof Low No 23
Larsen Bay Medium Yes Yes 115
Metlakatla Medium Yes 1375
Myers Chuck Low Yes 21
Nanwalek Medium Yes Yes 177
Nelson Lagoon Low No 83
Nikolski Medium Yes Yes 39
Nome Low No Yes 3598
Old Harbor Medium Yes Yes 237
Ouzinkie Medium Yes Yes 225
Pelican Low Yes 163
Perryville Medium Yes Yes 107
Petersburg Low Yes Yes 3224
Point Baker Medium Yes 35
Port Graham Low Yes Yes 171
Port Heiden Low No 119
Port Lions Medium Yes Yes 256
Port Protection Low Yes 63
Sand Point Yes Medium Yes Yes 952
Savoonga Low No Yes 643
Saxman Low Yes 431
Seldovia Medium Yes Yes 286
Seward Yes Medium Yes Yes Yes 2830
Shemya High Yes 27
Shishmaref Low No 562
Sitka Yes Medium Yes Yes 8835
Skagway Yes Low Yes Yes Yes 862
St. George Medium Yes Yes 152
St. Paul Medium Yes Yes 532
Tatitlek Yes Medium Yes Yes 107
Tenakee Springs Low Yes 104
Thorne Bay Low Yes 557
Unalaska Yes Medium Yes 4283
USCG Station Kodiak Medium Yes
Valdez Yes Low Yes Yes Yes 4036
Whale Pass Low Yes 58
Whittier Yes Low Yes Yes 182
Woman's Bay Medium Yes 666
Wrangell Low Yes 2308
Yakutat Yes Medium Yes 808

DISTANT SOURCE TSUNAMI HAZARD means the tsunami is generated so far away that the earthquake was not felt at all or only slightly. An estimate can be made of potential danger. Maximum runup heights would only be reached at the shoreline and the maximum distance inland only reached where the coast is low, flat, and unobstructed. "High" means possible runup to 50 foot elevation and reaching up to 1 mile inland. "Moderate" means possible runup to 35 foot elevation and inland up to 3/4 mile. "Low" means possible runup to 20 foot elevation and reaching up to 1/2 mile inland.

All listed communities may have a LOCAL TSUNAMI HAZARD which means a tsunami could be generated in nearby waters and reach your community before a formal warning could be transmitted. These waves may arrive in less than one hour and have historically been the highest, up to 100 foot or more. The estimated possible height in each community is difficult to determine. Coastal residents who feel a very strong earthquake (lasting over 30 seconds or if you have difficulty standing) should move to higher ground immediately.

Historic tsunami information and ongoing numeric studies indicate that tsunami flood threat along the western Alaska coast (Bering Sea) is very low, though there is a higher threat in some instances along the Pribilof Island coasts.  We have run a preliminary tsunami propagation model. Two hypothetical tsunami sources (earthquakes of Mw 9.0) were placed in the eastern and western parts of the Aleutian chain. The tsunami waves propagated through the Northern Pacific and into the Bering Sea. The continental shelf in the Bering Sea substantially dissipates tsunami energy and slows down the waves. As a result, tsunami waves arrive at Hawaii before they reach the Bering Sea coastline, which gives sufficient warning time to those communities. Higher amplitudes were calculated for St. George and St. Paul islands due to their proximity to the continental slope. The Bristol Bay area has only an estimated >1 meter wave height potential.