New Oahu tsunami maps show more areas at risk - Hawaii News Now - KGMB and KHNL

New Oahu tsunami maps show more areas at risk

Acting Mayor Kirk Caldwell Acting Mayor Kirk Caldwell
Kwok Fai Cheung Kwok Fai Cheung
Map showing new zones from Sand Island to Waikiki Map showing new zones from Sand Island to Waikiki
New map of Waikiki New map of Waikiki

By Lisa Kubota - bio | email

HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - New lines on some maps mean big changes during the next tsunami. The revised evacuation zones reflect an increased threat for many spots across Oahu.

Hawaii braced for the worst when a tsunami headed this way earlier this year.

"We dodged a bullet in February and it was a great response, but it's going to happen" said Kirk Caldwell, acting Honolulu Mayor

That's why the city wants people to check out 21 new tsunami evacuation maps for Oahu. The map for Waikiki show a lot more areas in the inundation zone.

"As you can see, it's dramatically different than the old one. It's moved mauka by a lot."

This is the first revision since the maps were created nearly 20 years ago. Researchers relied on a $600,000 federal grant. They studied the five major tsunami to hit Hawaii during the last century.

"In addition, we also considered hypothetical tsunami events coming from other directions" said Kwok Fai Cheung of the Tsunami Inundation Mapping Project.

"The good news is we're able to study the topography under the water now to know better than we did before" said Caldwell.

The new data led to larger evacuation zones in many locations. 20 public and private schools are now affected. In a few spots experts say the hazard has decreased.

"We're much more dense and we're much more populated along the shoreline since our last major tsunami and we need to protect ourselves."

While the maps have changed, other guidelines remain the same. Leave an evacuation zone during a tsunami warning or go to the third flood or higher in a reinforced building of six stories or more. And if you're near the shoreline during an earthquake immediately head to higher ground.

To find out if your home or business is at risk during a tsunami go to the Department of Emergency Management website at

http://www.honolulu.gov/dem/draft_tsunami_evacuation_zone_maps_.htm

The revised maps will also be in phone books starting next year.

Copyright 2010 Hawaii News Now. All rights reserved.

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