Monday, 15 December 2014: 9:00 AM
Victor A Huerfano Moreno and Carolina M. Hincapie -Cardenas, University of Puerto Rico Mayaguez, Mayaguez, PR, United States
Tsunami hazard assessment, detection, warning, education and outreach efforts are intended to reduce losses to life and property. The Puerto Rico Seismic Network (PRSN) is participating in an effort with local and federal agencies, to developing tsunami hazard risk reduction strategies under the National Tsunami Hazards and Mitigation Program (NTHMP). This grant supports the TsunamiReady program which is the base of the tsunami preparedness and mitigation in PR. The Caribbean region has a documented history of damaging tsunamis that have affected coastal areas. The seismic water waves originating in the prominent fault systems around PR are considered to be a near-field hazard for Puerto Rico and the Virgin islands (PR/VI) because they can reach coastal areas within a few minutes after the earthquake. Sources for local, regional and tele tsunamis have been identified and modeled and tsunami evacuation maps were prepared for PR. These maps were generated in three phases: First, hypothetical tsunami scenarios on the basis of the parameters of potential underwater earthquakes were developed. Secondly, each of these scenarios was simulated. The third step was to determine the worst case scenario (MOM). The run-ups were drawn on GIS referenced maps and aerial photographs. These products are being used by emergency managers to educate the public and develop mitigation strategies. Online maps and related evacuation products are available to the public via the PR-TDST (PR Tsunami Decision Support Tool). Currently all the 44 coastal municipalities were recognized as TsunamiReady by the US NWS. The main goal of the program is to declare Puerto Rico as TsunamiReady, including two cities that are not coastal but could be affected by tsunamis. Based on these evacuation maps, tsunami signs were installed, vulnerability profiles were created, communication systems to receive and disseminate tsunami messages were installed in each TWFP, and tsunami response plans were approved. Also, the existing tsunami protocol and criteria in the PR/VI was updated. This paper describes the PR-NTHMP project, including the real time earthquake and tsunami monitoring as well as the specific protocols used to broadcast tsunami messages. The paper highlights tsunami hazards assessment, detection, warning, education and outreach in Puerto Rico.