FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Theresa Eiesenman
News Releases 2006
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The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration announced today that it has reached an important milestone in expanding the U.S. tsunami warning system and is better equipped to detect a tsunami and alert communities of the impending danger.
“This marks an important phase in strengthening the U.S. tsunami warning system, which was accelerated following the December 2004 Indian Ocean disaster,” said retired Navy Vice Adm. Conrad C. Lautenbacher, Ph.D., under secretary of commerce for oceans and atmosphere and NOAA administrator. “All facets of NOAA’s tsunami program – from research to operations – have been expanded. The result is a nation more prepared to act should a tsunami threaten our shores.”
NOAA received $17.2 million in supplemental funding in Fiscal Year 2005 and $9.67 million in Fiscal Year 2006 to expand the U.S. tsunami warning system. The Fiscal Year 2007 President’s budget requests approximately $21 million to complete the plan.
“NOAA has more than 40 years of experience operating an effective tsunami detection network and alerting the public of all hazards. One of our first achievements in enhancing the tsunami warning system was expanding the warning centers’ scope of services to provide coverage to the U.S. Atlantic Coast, Gulf of Mexico, Puerto Rico, U.S. Virgin Islands and eastern Canada,” added Lautenbacher.
Previously, NOAA’s two warning centers – the Pacific Tsunami Warning Center, in Ewa Beach, Hawaii, and the West Coast/Alaska Tsunami Warning Center, in Palmer, Alaska – depended on staff being available by pager and able to reach the facility within five minutes. NOAA hired 15 employees to staff the centers 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
Other tsunami warning system expansion milestones which NOAA has committed to complete by today include:
NOAA, an agency of the U.S. Department of Commerce, is dedicated to enhancing economic security and national safety through the prediction and research of weather and climate-related events and providing environmental stewardship of the nation's coastal and marine resources. Through the emerging Global Earth Observation System of Systems (GEOSS), NOAA is working with its federal partners, 61 countries and the European Commission to develop a global network that is as integrated as the planet it observes, predicts and protects.
On the Web:
Tsunami Program: http://www.tsunami.noaa.gov/