Natural Tsunami Warnings

Being aware of Nature’s Warnings may save your life.

Natural warning signs that a tsunami may be on its way:

An earthquake that lasts for a long time - The longer the shaking, the more likely a tsunami could be on its way. The shaking could be weak or strong – the important signal is duration!

A sudden change in the character of the ocean - A quiet sea that suddenly becomes rough is a sign to move away from the beach.

The ocean receding unusually far - This is a sign that the water will rush back in much faster and higher than you expect. Head inland or to higher ground as soon as you notice.

A loud noise or roar from the ocean - This is an indication that the waves are building in size. Tsunami surges could arrive within minutes.

React quickly to whatever natural warning you perceive. In most cases, a long lasting earthquake will be your indication that a tsunami may be on its way. If you are not sure whether an earthquake was strong or lasted long enough to cause a tsunami, go ahead and start evacuating while at the same time searching for more information. Continue to evacuate until you receive the all clear. Remember, When In Doubt, Drill It Out! If the earthquake caused a tsunami then you would already be on your way to or at high ground. If the earthquake didn't cause a tsunami, then you practiced your evacuation plan and proved to yourself that you can do it. The short deviation from your original plans is a small price to pay for peace of mind and your safety.

Next » Learn about Official Warnings

2004 Indian Ocean tsunami approaching the coast

2004 Indian Ocean tsunami approaching the coast