Santa Rosa County is TsunamiReady!
First county on the Gulf of Mexico recognized for tsunami preparedness
Santa Rosa County is the first county along the gulf coast to be recognized as TsunamiReady by the National Weather Service. Crews placed tsunami safety signs at Navarre Beach featuring safety instructions and location identifiers earlier this summer.
 
Chayne Sparagowski with the Coastal Bend Council of Governments, Region One Coordinator Wanda Stafford with the Florida Department of Emergency Management and Jason Beaman with National Weather Service in Mobile will present Santa Rosa County with official signage designating it as TsunamiReady in a presentation on Dec. 13, 1:30 p.m. at the Emergency Management Office, 4499 Pine Forest Road in Milton.

Florida was included in the U.S. Tsunami Warning System after assessments of hazards along the Gulf of Mexico identified underwater landslides as the primary potential source of tsunami generation. Sediments continually empty into the gulf mainly from the Mississippi River, which could lead to landslide activities, although the probability of a massive event is quite low.

"The knowledge that we could be looking at as much as 14 feet of water in the event of a tsunami justified the need to become TsunamiReady," said Brad Baker, director of the county's emergency management office. "The beach signs serve several purposes. They have safety instructions in the event of a tsunami and they are numbered to correspond with the mile markers on I-10, to accurately dispatch emergency responders to 9-1-1 cell phone calls from the beach. In addition, they boost our Community Rating System score which, in turn, lowers flood insurance costs for all county residents."

TsunamiReady is a voluntary community recognition program developed by the National Weather Service with established guidelines for a standard level of capability to mitigate, prepare for and respond to tsunamis. Santa Rosa County joins 196 TsunamiReady communities in the US; three are recognized on Florida's Atlantic coast however, no communities on the Gulf of Mexico are certified in Florida, Alabama, Louisiana or Texas.

Tsunamis are a series of large, destructive waves caused by a sudden disturbance of the ocean that could potentially demolish a coastal community within minutes. Tsunami waves radiate outward in all directions from the disturbance and can move across entire ocean basins. Predicting when and where the next tsunami will strike is impossible; however, once the tsunami is generated, forecasting tsunami arrival and impact is possible through modeling and measurement technologies. For more information, visit www.tsunamiready.noaa.gov.

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