Japan, one of the most prepared countries in the world for natural disasters, underestimated its worst-case scenario. The 2011 Tohoku, Japan Mw (magnitude) 9.0 earthquake and tsunami, flooded more than 217 square miles of Japan and killed more than 15,800 people. This tragic event served as a wake-up call for Hawaii emergency management officials and university scientists.
Determined to not underestimate the worst-case scenario for Hawai`i, University of Hawai`i and state and county emergency management professionals investigated other regions around the Pacific for the potential to generate large tsunamis beyond the historical record. The historical tsunami events affecting Hawai‘i occurred in 1946, 1952, 1957, 1960, 1964 and 2011. Geophysicists at the University identified a possible source region in the Eastern Aleutian island arc, directly north of Hawai‘i, that has the potential for a very large Mw 9+ earthquake that could produce what is called the Great Aleutian Tsunami (GAT). Based on computer modeling of GAT inundation, new Extreme Tsunami Evacuation Zones (ETEZ) were developed for Kailua, along with all coastal areas of Oahu. The ETEZ serves as a second evacuation zone specifically for the GAT scenario. All other tsunami events will continue to use the existing 2010 evacuation maps.
To determine whether your home or business is located in the ETEZ visit Tsunami Aware and plug in your address. Visit the City and County of Honolulu, Department of Emergency Management webpage for additional information.
Should Hawai`i be impacted by an extreme tsunami, the Kailua Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) and amateur radio operators (HAM) will respond to save lives in Kailua.