Access extreme tsunami maps on your smartphone

tsunami posing a threat from the shorline right up to the H-1 freeway! Good evening, I’m Yunji De Nies. And I’m Kenny Choi, in for Paula Akana. It’s not happening now, maybe it’ll never happen, but new maps JUST released today say… IT COULD! KITV-4’s Andrew Pereira joins us now with the new information. Andrew? Kenny, Yunji… the city has unveiled new extreme tsunami maps that you can access on your smartphone. Japan is one of the most prepared countries in the world when it comes to tsunamis. But when a 9.0 earthquake struck near the east coast of Honshu in March, 2011 it triggered an extreme tsunami and more than 18,000 people were killed. Like many of us, Mayor Kirk Caldwell watched in awe. MAYOR KIRK CALDWELL: “I HAD TO GET UP AND WALK TO THE TV AND GET THIS FAR AWAY BECAUSE I COULDN’T BELIEVE WHAT I WAS SEEING.” Although extreme tsunamis are not common within the span of a human life, they occur regularly in geologic time. That’s why the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration teamed up with the City and the University of Hawaii to draft extreme tsunami maps at a cost of $200,000. Another $40,000 grant allowed the city to create a smart phone app called Ready Hawaii where you can access extreme tsunami maps and much more. PETER HIRAI: ‘WE TRY TO COVER EVERY DISASTER, ANYTHING FROM A MAJOR VEHICLE ACCIDENT TO VOLCANOES.” Normal tsunami evacuation zones for Waikiki are shown in pink. But in yellow is the evacuation zone for an extreme tsunami. As you can see, waves generated from a massive earthquake would run up to the H1 Freeway in some areas. MAYOR KIRK CALDWELL: “YOU LOOK IN WAIKIKI, YOU’VE GOT TO GO WAY, WAY BACK NOW. YOU’VE GOT TO GO ACROSS THE ALA WAI CANAL, YOU’VE GOT TO GO ACROSS TO KAPIOLANI BOULEVARD IT LOOKS LIKE.” No matter the shoreline, north, south, east or west, an extreme tsunami represents an extreme threat. A threat that could come from many directions. GERARD FRYER: “IF IT HAPPENED TODAY IT WOULD TAKE US ABOUT 25 MINUTES TO DECIDE WHETHER IT WAS THIS EXTREME EVENT. AND IN THE WORST CASE WHERE THE TSUNAMI IS COMING FROM THE ALEUTIANS, THAT STILL LEAVES A FULL FOUR HOURS TO EVACUATE.” ANDREW PEREIRA: “ALTHOUGH EXTREME TSUNAMI MAPS ARE NOW IN PLACE, THE WORK IS FAR FROM OVER. MCCULLY DISTRICT PARK IS CONSIDERED A REFUGE CENTER DURING A REGULAR TSUNAMI, BUT MAY NOT BE SAFE DURING AN EXTREME TSUNAMI. THAT’S WHY THE CITY’S IN THE PROCESS OF MAPPING OUT NEW AREAS FOR FOLKS TO PARK THEIR CARS OR SEEK REFUGE DURING AN EXTREME TSUNAMI WARNING.” PETER HIRAI: “WHAT WE DO ASK THE PUBLIC TO DO IS THEIR FIRST CHOICE SHOULD BE TO GET OUT OF THE ZONE AND GET TO A LOVED ONE’S HOUSE, A RELATIVE, A FRIEND, SOMEONE WHO LIVES ABOVE OR INLAND OF THE ZONE THAT THEY CAN REFUGE WITH SAFELY.” 90,000 people live in the regular tsunami zones, but when it comes to an extreme tsunami, those zones cover 330,000 people. In a hurricane event there’s only enough shelter space for 35 percent of Oahu’s population. In the aftermath of an extreme tsunami, limited shelter space may also come into play. Yunji?

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