New Tsunami Response, Mitigation, and Recovery Planning “Playbooks” for California (USA) Maritime Communities
Abstract:The 2010 Chile and 2011 Japan tsunamis both struck the California coast offering valuable experience and raised a number of significant issues for harbor masters, port captains, and other maritime entities. There was a general call for more planning products to help guide maritime communities in their tsunami response, mitigation, and recovery activities. The State of California is working with the U.S. Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), the U.S. National Tsunami Hazard Mitigation Program (NTHMP), and other tsunami experts to provide communities with new tsunami planning tools to address these issues:
Response Playbooks and plans have been developed for ports and harbors identifying potential tsunami current hazards and related damage for various size events. Maps have been generated showing minor, moderate, and severe damage levels that have been linked to current velocity thresholds of 3, 6, and 9 knots, respectively. Knowing this information allows harbor personnel to move ships or strengthen infrastructure prior to the arrival of distant source tsunamis.
Damage probability tools and mitigation plans have been created to help reduce tsunami damage by evaluating the survivability of small and large vessels in harbors and ports. These results were compared to the actual damage assessments performed in California and Japan following the 2011 Japanese tsunami. Fragility curves were developed based on current velocity and direction to help harbor and port officials upgrade docks, piles, and related structures.
Guidance documents are being generated to help in the development of both local and statewide recovery plans. Additional tools, like post-tsunami sediment and debris movement models, will allow harbors and ports to better understand if and where recovery issues are most likely to occur. Streamlining the regulatory and environmental review process is also a goal of the guidance.
These maritime products and procedures are being integrated into guidance through the NTHMP to help other U.S. states/territories/commonwealths develop their own tsunami planning tools. This will lead to more accurate, consistent, and cost-effective tsunami planning strategies within the U.S.