What's Your Take on the Tsunami Advisory in Santa Monica?

We want to hear from you: Was the alert appropriate—or too harsh?

On Friday, was issued throughout coastal cities in Southern California—including Santa Monica—following a massive earthquake that rocked the east coast of Honshu, Japan.

In the end, the biggest waves at measured 2.8 feet high, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration said.

(Go to see a photo gallery of images from the beach and on Friday.)

A tsunami advisory means that "a tsunami capable of producing strong currents or waves dangerous to persons in or very near the water is expected," according to the West Coast and Alaska Tsunami Warning Center. A tsunami watch, which is a milder alert, is "issued to alert emergency management officials and the public of an event which may later impact the watch area," the center says.

Do you think the tsunami advisory issued by NOAA was appropriate, especially in light of the 8.9 magnitude of the earthquake that occurred in Japan? Should the alert have been a tsunami watch instead? Or should an alert not have been issued at all?

Share your thoughts in the comments box below.

Amanda Michaels-Zech March 12, 2011 at 07:28 PM
Hear, hear Dina. Better safe than sorry. As someone who knows the destructive power of tsunamis personally (my husband survived the 2004 Indian Ocean Tsunami - he was scuba diving off the coast of Koh Phi Phi, Thailand, when the surge that ultimately overwhelmed the tiny island hit him), I am *so* grateful that our government has warning systems in place. Even though the event seemed underwhelming to most people in SoCal (esp. compared to what happened in Japan), I think the advisory was absolutely appropriate. A 2.8ft surge may seem like nothing, but in a harbor or on flatland, it can be significant, damaging, even dangerous. It's the speed of the water, the power of the changing currents and the debris the water carries that becomes life-threatening in a tsunami. It's difficult to understand until someone lives it or knows someone personally who has, but we have to take the possibility of a tsunami seriously. Always. Something I noticed, Kurt - There is a discrepancy re: the terms "warning," "watch" and "advisory." Even the Pacific Tsunami Warning Center and NOAA (PTWC is part of the NOAA) are at odds. See the following links - most seem to agree that the correct order of descending threat is warning, watch, advisory: http://ptwc.weather.gov/ptwc/faq.php#28 http://www.wrh.noaa.gov/boi/awareness/warningwatchadvisory.php http://wcatwc.arh.noaa.gov/Products/msgdefs.htm (warning, advisory, watch) http://www.tsunami.noaa.gov/terminology.html ("advisory" not even mentioned)
Dr D A Hanson March 12, 2011 at 07:39 PM
I, totally agree with Amanda Michaels, it is ALWAYS better to be safe than sorry. Well done! Keep up the great job you are doing trying to protect our citizens. Dr. Hanson
Kurt Orzeck March 12, 2011 at 08:21 PM
Thanks for your feedback, everyone. Amanda, I'm happy you pointed out that apparent discrepancy. I'll check out those links ... maybe it will warrant a fresh report in the near future (namely, before the next tsunami alert happens). Also, Dr. Hanson, thank you so much for your kind words. They mean a lot. All the best, everyone.
Valerie Ferguson March 13, 2011 at 03:57 AM
Well said Amanda, I agree with you completely.
Dr D A Hanson March 13, 2011 at 04:27 AM


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