NOAA 2002-R201
Contact: John Leslie
NOAA News Releases 2002
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Seward, Alaska, today became the first community in the state to be designated "TsunamiReady" by NOAA's National Weather Service, an agency of the Commerce Department's National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. NOAA's Weather Service officials from Alaska announced the "TsunamiReady" designation at the Seward Polar Bear Festival 2002.

"We are making history today by honoring Seward for establishing specific means to protect citizens from tsunamis," said NOAA's Weather Service Alaska Region Director Richard Przywarty. "This community has demonstrated a strong commitment to save lives and protect property in the event of these damaging and hazardous events."

The TsunamiReady program is a voluntary preparedness program that establishes guidelines for communities to be ready for tsunamis. Seward is the third community in the nation to receive this designation. TsunamiReady communities have met the specific requirements set by NOAA's Weather Service in the areas of communications, warning reception and dissemination, public outreach and awareness, and administrative planning.

To receive the TsunamiReady designation, Seward successfully met these readiness criteria and was approved by an advisory board made up of local emergency managers, representatives from the Alaska Division of Emergency Services and NOAA's Weather Service. Official signs recognizing the community as TsunamiReady will be posted on roadsides entering the community.

"Preparation and advance warning are vital factors in tsunami readiness," Przywarty said. "Seaside residents, especially in areas prone to earthquakes like Seward, must understand the importance of moving to high ground or inland immediately when a tsunami warning is given."

Seward is located above the confluence of the North American and Pacific tectonic plates. Earthquakes are common in this region, with approximately one quake per day over magnitude 3.0. Seward experienced tremendous damage as a result of the 1964 Alaskan earthquake and tsunami. The wave inundated up to 27 feet in parts of town. Twelve residents were killed by the tsunami and over 200 injured. Damage was estimated at $14 million.

More information on the TsunamiReady program is available at: Each weather forecast office in Alaska posts daily forecasts and severe weather warnings on their Web pages. Links to these sites are available through

NOAA's National Weather Service is the primary source of weather data, forecasts and warnings for the United States and its territories. NOAA's Weather Service operates the most advanced weather and flood warning and forecast system in the world, helping to protect lives and property and enhance the national economy.

To learn more about NOAA's National Weather Service, please visit

Editor's Note: A copy of the "TsunamiReady" sign is also available to use with this story at