Port Alberni Tsunami Early Warning System
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The City of Port Alberni is one of the most tsunami susceptible developed areas in Canada. Port Alberni is located at the head of a very narrow 60 km long inlet open to Barclay Sound on the West Coast of Vancouver Island. The geography of the inlet can result in amplification of tsunami’s height to approximately three times the wave height experienced in Barclay Sound.
Several scientific studies have been carried out regarding the propagation of tsunamis in the Pacific Basin. Port Alberni has in all cases been identified as a maximum wave amplitude site with wave height predictions ranging from 9 meters to 16 meters above tide level. A 10 meter tsunami would result in inundation of about 600 hectares or 35% of the area of Port Alberni including the entire industrial area, most of the northern central business district and a large residential area. Close proximity of log booms would likely increase the damage and loss of life caused by a tsunami due to impact of logs with homes and other buildings.
A sophisticated Tsunami Alert System is currently in place in the Pacific Basin, allowing quick notification to communities. The warning time provided depends on the distance from the earthquake epicentre to the community. Port Alberni would have up to 3 hours notice of a Tsunami generated in Alaska or Japan but would get 30 minutes or less notice of a locally generated tsunami. Due to the possible very short warning time, communities must be able to evacuate the inundation zone very quickly, if major loss of life is to be avoided.
One of the most effective methods of rapid evacuation is through use of a tsunami early warning system, consisting of a network of radio controlled public address speakers. This type of system can notify the population very quickly, and given proper public education, can result in fast and efficient evacuation of an inundation zone. There are such system currently in use in several tsunami prone areas including Oregon, Hawaii, Alaska, and Japan.
Golden Street Tower Margaret Street Tower 4th and Redford Tower 2nd and Kingsway Tower Portable Control Unit For Tsunami Warning System