Get to know your tsunami zones
Right now tsunamis and earthquakes are right at the top of people’s minds - and with summer finally here, many people will be heading away on holiday. In New Zealand, that generally involves at least one visit to a beach.
Our greatest tsunami threat for the North Island comes from the Hikurangi subduction zone off the East Coast, where the Pacific Plate is being forced under the Australian Plate.
If this fault line ruptures, the only warning you might get of a tsunami would be from the shaking of the earthquake itself. The first wave may arrive in as little as 10 minutes, so there is no time to wait for an official warning. Kapiti and Porirua could similarly face a tsunami threat from their offshore fault lines.
If you are at the coast or are in a tsunami evacuation zone, and you feel a LONG earthquake that lasts for a minute or longer, OR a STRONG earthquake that makes it hard to stand up, that’s the only notification you need, and may be the only notification that you will get that there could be a tsunami on the way.
DON’T WAIT for further instructions, for your phone to beep, or other notifications or advice, a message on the radio, or something on Facebook - evacuate immediately on foot to high ground, past the blue lines if they are in your area, as soon as the shaking has stopped.
Check out the tsunami evacuation zones now. Look for where you live, work or play, and the places you often visit or pass through. And if you are hitting the road this summer, take some time to look at the maps as a household – preparation now can prevent a whole lot of stress later.
We have brand new tsunami evacuation zone maps available for the region, covering our entire coastline. The maps are all available as JPGs and PDFs that you can print at getprepared.org.nz/ tz. There’s also a searchable map of the region.
These maps were developed using computer modelling of the behaviour of tsunami waves on our coastlines by GNS Science, and the Yellow Zone covers the worst case credible scenario for tsunami that could impact our region. Where they have been painted, the Blue Lines indicate the edge of the Yellow Zone, so head uphill past them to get out of the zone.
If it’s long or strong, be gone. Find out where to go now and practise getting there. Have a grab bag by the door ready to go.
If you have any issues on emergency preparedness you’d like discussed in this column, email firstname.lastname@example.org
The regional council has put out new tsunami maps. What zone is your house in?