NOAA Tsunami Buoys All In Place Now

HONOLULU (KHNL) -- April is Tsunami Awareness Month. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration says it upgraded its tsunami warning system, and that Hawaii has better coverage than ever before.

NOAA deployed the final two tsunami detection buoys in the South Pacific this spring, completing a buoy network and bolstering the US tsunami warning system. Chip McCreary of the Pacific Tsunami Warning Center said, "We need to be prepared in case a tsunami comes from any one of those seismic zones and we need to get the news quickly."

They're deep ocean sensors that measure a tsunami in the middle of the ocean. Now forecasters can get real time data about tsunamis that could potentially impact Hawaii, the US Pacific Coast, and US Pacific territories.

Every star on this map marks each of the 32 dart buoys now positioned between Hawaii and every seismic zone. Forecasters can get a reading within an hour of any earthquake. McCreary said it's also more accurate than previous systems. "Hopefully it'll reduce the false alarm rate and do a better job of predicting when an actual tsunami is going to hit."

The state says it's ready for a tsunami. Now you should be, too. Vice Director of State Civil Defense Ed Teixeira encouraged, "We prepare for it year round and the best way for our residents to be prepared is to also understand that threat."

On April 12, the Waikiki Aquarium will offer free admission for Earth Day. There will be a tsunami education booth there as well.