Tsunamis are a series of waves caused by underwater disturbances, such as earthquake, landslide, volcanic eruption, or meteorite impact. A tsunami can move hundreds of miles per hour in the open ocean, and in deep water the waves may be hardly noticeable. As the waves approach shore, the momentum slows, and the waves grow in height. Here’s how you can be prepared.


Five Ways to


  • 1 Follow the National Tsunami Warning Center on Twitter and activate cellular emergency alerts.
  • 2 Know your tsunami alerts and their meanings. Is it an Advisory, Watch or Warning? English | Spanish 
  • 3 Know the signs: A sudden earthquake, dramatically receding shoreline, or a loud ocean roar.
  • 4 Know the way to safety. Look for posted evacuation routes or download a map for your area.
  • 5 Register for VC Alert. Most tsunamis are distant source, giving local authorities time to send emergency notifications, if necessary.

Four Ways to

Save the Day

  • 1 If you are near the ocean, get to higher ground immediately following an earthquake or any tsunami warning sign.
  • 2 If the water recedes dramatically, do not investigate. Get to higher ground because a tsunami wave could be moments away.
  • 3 Don’t wait for alerts from public safety. If it looks and feels dangerous, leave.
  • 4 Stay put until it’s over. The first wave is often not the last or the largest.

Three Things to


  • 1 Distance source tsunamis may not arrive for several hours, while a near source tsunami may arrive in minutes.
  • 2 The further inland or higher the better you can get, the better. Tsunamis can flood up to a mile inland and 100 feet above sea level.
  • 3 If you cannot leave the area, move to the highest point available and hold on to something sturdy.

Two Things to

Ease Your Mind

  • 1 Advances in technology use ocean buoys to help predict the time and severity of distant source tsunamis with great accuracy.
  • 2 Distant source tsunamis rarely cause inundation in Ventura County.

One Question to Ask Yourself

Right Now

Will the Channel Islands protect us

from a tsunami?

From the area where the tsunami originates, waves travel outward in all directions. Once the wave approaches the shore, it builds in height. The topography of the coastline and the ocean floor will influence the size of the wave. A small tsunami at one beach can be a giant wave a few miles away. Since we do not know where a tsunami might originate, we cannot predict whether the islands will provide any protection.


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