Tsunamis make headlines every year. Florida is infamous for the occurrence of natural disasters that cause massive destruction. Does Florida also experience tsunamis? Has this happened before in history?
Yes, Florida gets tsunamis. They are rare, and there have only been 8 cases reported since the mid-eighteen hundreds. The most recent tsunami was in 2001. However, Florida is always at risk of a tsunami, so it is best to be prepared for a natural disaster.
Interestingly, tsunamis can occur at any given time, and there is no way to know when one is about to happen. What puts Florida at risk, and what causes the low chance of a tsunami? How do you take measures to ensure your loved ones’ safety? Let us find out.
What Is A Tsunami?
We often call a vast group of people surging toward a destination a tsunami. Why is that?
A tsunami consists of multiple ocean waves. These enormous ocean waves can be as high as a hundred feet and have intense force. As these waves move, they eventually crash. The crashes cause massive destruction if they occur in populated and developed areas.
What Causes A Tsunami?
A wave moves with such force due to an external force acting on it. How does that happen in an ocean?
The entire planet has seven tectonic plates under it. When these tectonic plates move, disasters occur; tectonic plates keep moving as is their natural course. When the ocean floor that is on the tectonic plate boundary rises and falls, an earthquake occurs in the ocean. This leads to the formation of big waves, which then move from the sea toward the shore.
Earthquakes in the ocean are the most common reason for tsunamis, but other naturally occurring phenomena are also responsible. Underwater landslides, volcanic eruptions, or asteroids may also lead to tsunamis.
Does Florida Experience Tsunamis?
Tsunamis occur in coastal areas bordering oceans or large water bodies. The Pacific Ocean is infamous for being the ocean that hosts the most tsunamis. Florida is a coastal region; hence, it is unsafe from tsunamis.
The possibility of a tsunami exists at all times. However, Florida joins the Atlantic Ocean, not the pacific. The Atlantic Ocean has a relatively low rate of tsunami occurrences. Florida does not experience many tsunamis, but it is at risk. There have been eight tsunamis in Florida since 1848. The most recent one was in 2001.
How Are Tsunamis Forecasted?
Earthquakes, volcanic eruptions, and landslides are very sudden. They cannot be picked up on weather forecasting systems. However, due to technological advances, the supervision of the deep ocean has improved. The new techniques which are specialized in tsunami forecasting can detect earthquakes and analyze if the magnitude is high enough to cause a tsunami in its wake.
Moreover, after tsunamis begin, these systems can figure out the level of destruction the tsunami is capable of. This information helps in making decisions about evacuation and relief.
Tsunamis move at high speed and can cross oceans in 12 hours. Tsunamis slow down when they reach land. Mostly, tsunamis go undetected until it is too late due to the sudden and quick nature of the disaster.
What Is The Scale Of Destruction In A Tsunami?
The magnitude of the tsunami and the distance from the origin determines the destruction scale. Florida is closer to the coast and is likely to suffer more drastic effects. Tsunamis are strong enough to wipe out lanes of houses and even buildings completely. It consumes everything that comes in its way and destroys it.
What Measures Need To Be Taken Before The Tsunami?
The city’s administration is aware of this disaster’s occurrence and consequences. They need to be very proactive. Here are some things that your administrators should be doing before a tsunami:
- Warning – The US government has an efficient warning system set up to inform every individual who is likely to be in the range of the tsunami. An early detection system is in place by the NOAA Tsunami Program. The sea-level observations determine when the warning needs to be sent out. They are supposed to be early enough, so evacuation and planning are possible.
- Planning – A roadmap following evacuation and later rehabilitation should be in place. The work must start as soon as the chance of a tsunami occurring is sensed. Preliminary planning saves time and lives. The National Tsunami Hazard Mitigation Program oversees planning and preparedness. This Program consists of multiple other agencies and oversees education, public outreach, evacuation, land use, hazard assessment, and warning guidance.
What Measures Need To Be Taken Once The Tsunami Hits?
There are some things you can do to keep yourself safe during a tsunami, starting with impromptu evacuation. Here’s more:
Once the tsunami has occurred and there are clear warning signs, you must evacuate the area that you are in. The safest place to move to while evacuating is far away from the shore. It is advised to move inland or on higher ground.
If evacuation is impossible and you are stuck within your house, you must ensure your survival during a tsunami. Look for a sturdy counter in your home. Drop to the floor and take cover under it. This can be a table or a high surface. Hold on to the object as firmly as you can. This protects you from any falling objects and keeps you safe.
When Is The Danger Over?
Tsunamis are a series of waves. If a wave has passed, that does not mean the tsunami has passed. There is a high likelihood that another wave will hit some time later. Be patient and wait for official announcements or signals until you return to the tsunami-hit area.
Florida is at risk of a tsunami all year. The fact that they do not occur usually does not put it off the radar. Being educated on the beginning of tsunamis and the safety measures that need to be taken can save you from being a victim of injury or death. You must abide by the regulations set out by the administration of your region; cooperate and evacuate if needed.