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Tsunami Lessons from “The Impossible”

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Presentation highlighting tsunami lessons from key scenes in "The Impossible" to the Get Ready Ewa Beach Emergency Preparedness Fair on September 5, 2015

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Tsunami Lessons from “The Impossible”

  1. 1. Tsunami Lessons from “The Impossible” BRIAN SHIRO NOAA PACIFIC TSUNAMI WARNING CENTER GET READY EWA BEACH EMERGENCY PREPAREDNESS FAIR 2015
  2. 2. The Impossible
  3. 3. Disclaimer The scenes we are about to show are graphic and depict the violent nature of tsunamis. They may not be suitable for young children.
  4. 4. Tsunami Scene Discussion • Tsunami sounds like “thousands of big planes.” • No warning? (Animals seemed to detect it first.) • Tsunami looks like a “huge black wall.” • Maria clung to a tree and survived. The actual tsunami at a resort in Thailand
  5. 5. Did they get the science right? Mostly, yes. Survivors say the film depicted actual events very well. However, the movie does not show the initial recession of the water and accurate timing between waves.
  6. 6. Crest-first vs. Trough- first Waves • The earthquake fault pushes water up on one side and down on the other. • The first wave going one direction (west) was crest-first, but the first wave going the other direction (east) was trough-first. • So Thailand first saw a recession of the sea.
  7. 7. Actual Tsunami Footage Video shot by survivors at resorts in Thailand shows the power of the tsunami and the safety of vertical evacuation.
  8. 8. Near-Drowning Scene Discussion • Violence of the tsunami currents and debris. • You can’t swim in a tsunami. • Each wave carries more debris. • Maria’s wounds: broken nose, torn leg, water-filled lungs, internal bleeding. Over 5100 people died in Thailand
  9. 9. Aftermath Scene Discussion • Get to safety between waves. Danger lasts hours. • Dangerous debris everywhere. • Be strong. • Help others if you can. Devastation in Thailand
  10. 10. Pre and Post Tsunami
  11. 11. Phone Scene Discussion • Have an out-of- state person you can call and memorize the number. • Phones and power will be limited. • Dealing with the psychological trauma while searching for survivors. • Generosity of strangers. Despair in searching for loved ones
  12. 12. Could “The Impossible” happen here in Hawaii? Thailand-Hawaii Similarities • Many resorts and tourists in both places. • Similar education and evacuation challenges. • Similar tropical climates. Thailand-Hawaii Differences • Hawaii has no subduction zone nearby. Large local tsunamis are extremely unlikely here. • Most large tsunamis in Hawaii come from far away and give ample time to evacuate. • Hawaii has a well-developed tsunami warning system.
  13. 13. Tsunamis Affecting Hawaii 17 Major Tsunamis in Hawaii: April 1, 1946 – Alaska (M 8.6) May 22, 1960 – Chile (M 9.5) Travel Times to Hawaii: Local – minutes Alaska – 5 hours Japan – 7 hours S. Pacific – 7 hours Chile – 14 hours
  14. 14. Tsunami Safety Tips •  If you are near the beach and feel strong earthquake shaking, that is your warning. Head to higher ground. §  Walking mauka for 15-20 minutes or going to the 4th floor of a strong building is usually sufficient. Do not drive! •  An unusual draining of the sea is a natural tsunami warning sign, although this doesn’t happen in every tsunami situation. •  A tsunami is a series of waves, and the first wave may not be the biggest. §  Since the time between waves is 5-60 minutes, the danger can last for several hours. Be prepared with food, water, and a radio. •  Tsunami waves wrap around islands, so all coastlines are at risk. •  If a warning is issued, follow instructions. §  Local warnings (for tsunamis generated in Hawaii) require immediate action, but warnings from distant events are less urgent. •  If you are in a boat at sea, make sure you’re in deep water and stay there. Bays and harbors, however, are dangerous places. 18
  15. 15. Stay safe and enjoy the beach! Mahalo! Brian Shiro NOAA Pacific Tsunami Warning Center 1845 Wasp Blvd Bldg 176 Honolulu, HI 96818 brian.shiro@noaa.gov
  16. 16. Extra Slides
  17. 17. Hospital Scene Discussion • Hospitals overwhelmed with patients. • It is possible be reunited with your loved ones. • Help others. • Don’t give up hope. Filmed at the actual hospital in Takua Pa

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