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The City of San Clemente has been certified by the National Weather Service as TsunamiReady. For information on what San Clemente residents need to know to prepare for, respond to and be notified of a tsunami,Click Here.

The word "tsunami" is Japanese and means 'harbor wave,' because of the devastating effects these waves have had on low-lying coastal communities. Tsunamis are often incorrectly referred to as tidal waves, but a tsunami is actually a series of waves that can travel at speeds averaging 450 (and up to 600) miles per hour in the open ocean. In the open ocean, tsunamis would not be felt by ships because the wavelength would be hundreds of miles long, with an amplitude of only a few feet. This would also make them unnoticeable from the air. As the waves approach the coast, their speed decreases and their amplitude increases. Unusual wave heights have been known to be over 100 feet high. However, waves that are 10 to 20 feet high can be very destructive and cause many deaths or injuries.
Tsunami Safety Rules
  • Move away from low-lying coastal areas when you feel a strong earthquake or if a Tsunami Warning is issued.
  • If you are on or near the beach and feel a strong earthquake lasting 20 seconds or more, immediately move inland or to high ground. Do not wait for a Tsunami Warning to be issued.
  • If you are in the Tsunami Evacuation Zone when a Tsunami Warning is issued, EVACUATE. Follow evacuation routes and signs inland.
  • CAUTION— If there is a noticeable rapid recession in water away from the shoreline, this is nature’s tsunami warning and it should be heeded. You should move inland or to high ground immediately.
  • If you are unable to move inland, find refuge above the third floor in a high-rise, multi-story, reinforced-concrete building.
  • Do Not call 9-1-1 for information. Rather, listen to radio station KWVE 107.9 FM or KOGO 600 AM for emergency information.
  • Do not return home until authorities say it is safe to do so.
  • Fortunately, a tsunami is a rare event. You can protect your family by evacuating promptly if a Tsunami Warning is issued.

    More Information on Tsunamis

    City of San Clemente Tsunami Emergency Information Brochure(pdf)

    West Coast & Alaska Tsunami Warning Center

    NOAA Tsunami Website

    Federal Emergency Management Services (FEMA)

    Tsunami Information for Kids- A great animated video to teach children about Tsunamis

    For more information contact:
    Stephen Foster, Emergency Planning Coordinator, (949) 361-6109

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