Kaua‘i updates tsunami evacuation zone maps

LIHUE, KAUAI (HawaiiNewsNow) - County officials announced that Kaua'i's tsunami evacuation zone maps have been updated, replacing the maps from the 1990s.

The updated maps are based on the latest technology, which utilizes bathymetric/ocean-floor mapping and computer modeling done by the University of Hawai'i at Mānoa.

The maps are available on the county website, www.kauai.gov/civildefense, the National Weather Service website, http://tsunami.csc.noaa.gov/map.html, as well as in the latest edition of the Yellow Book in the disaster preparedness section.

A multi-disciplinary team assembled by the Kaua'i Civil Defense Agency (KCDA) collaborated on the update including emergency response managers, first responders, and a range of stakeholders and subject matter experts.

"Our team started with advanced tsunami inundation computer modeling from UH Mānoa. The information was used to predict where the water would go if some of Kaua'i's worst documented tsunamis were to occur at high tide," said KCDA Manager Glenda Nogami-Streufert. "Using this as a basis for the project, the new evacuation zones were developed with buffers built-in; and the boundaries were determined by roads, geographic features and/or property lines, where it was feasible."

She noted that the updated maps are not intended to indicate where the water would inundate in the event of a tsunami; they simply show the areas that should be evacuated when there is a tsunami threat.

Although significant changes were made in a number of evacuation zones, none will affect flood insurance rates for residents.

"We have been assured by FEMA (Federal Emergency Management Agency), that the evacuation map updates do not impact FEMA insurance zones or Flood Insurance Rate Maps (FIRM)," said Nogami-Streufert.

Mayor Bernard Carvalho, Jr. urges everyone to review the updated maps and to share the information with their family and friends.

"While the safety and welfare of our people is paramount in all that we do, disaster preparedness begins with each individual and their 'ohana," said the Mayor Carvalho.

Several other projects managed by KCDA are in the works including: the development of tsunami preparedness educational materials and public outreach; tsunami evacuation signage; and upgrades to the sirens. More information will be forthcoming.

Anyone with questions can call the KCDA at 241-1800.

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