Tsunami Watch, Advisory and Warning. What’s the difference?

Updated: Jan. 23, 2018 at 5:45 PM HST
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(Image: Hawaii News Now)
(Image: Hawaii News Now)
(Image: NOAA)
(Image: NOAA)

HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - With any major weather event, there are different levels of advisories intended to alert the public about potential threats to safety and impending hazards.

In the case of tsunamis, there are three levels of alerts you should be familiar with.

This is what each alert means:

Tsunami Watch Alert color: Yellow

A Tsunami Watch is the lowest level alert. A watch is issued to alert emergency management officials and the public that a tsunami may impact the area under the alert, though exact impacts are unknown.

During the time of a Tsunami Watch, forecasters at the Pacific Tsunami Warning Center are working to evaluate the actual threat to land and surrounding areas.

Tsunami Advisory Alert color: Orange

When a Tsunami Advisory is posted, tsunami conditions in or near the water are expected. Under an advisory, strong ocean currents and/or waves with the potential to cause coastal damage are expected.

The public should stay out of the water and away from beaches and coastlines.

Tsunami Warning Alert color: Red

If a Tsunami Warning is posted, everyone in a tsunami inundation zone should evacuate to higher ground immediately. Tsunami Warnings are the highest level alert that can be issued.

A warning means a strong tsunami is likely to cause widespread damage far inland from coastlines.

Those living within a tsunami inundation zone should go at least one mile inland, or 100 feet above sea level. Those living in a high rise within a tsunami zone should go to the third floor or higher in a sturdy building.

Evacuees should remain clear of coastal areas until authorities issue an "all clear" message.

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