TSUNAMI THAT WASN’T July 17, 2009Posted by wmmbb in Natural Environment, Social Environment.
There was a possibility that the earthquake in Fiordland in the South Island of New Zealand may have caused a tsunami. The models used by the Bureau of Meteorology predicted larger effects than occurred.
It is far better to have a warning, than not. We just have to accept that sometimes those giving the warning may not be 100 per cent right. It is the weather after all, and we are used to forecasts.
Jennifer Macey for ABC’s PM reported:
Disaster experts say that while the recent tsunami warnings were issued quickly, people need to be better educated about what to do next.
The first tsunami warning for the east coast of Australia was issued just 25 minutes after a powerful earthquake struck off the New Zealand coast.
Emergency services say they are happy with how the tsunami warning system worked on Wednesday night.
Coastguards, police and fire services were put on red alert and several people on Lord Howe Island were evacuated to higher ground.
The question is what do we do after we get the warning. Take bushfires as an example. There are a lot of issues relating to accounting for people and even where to go to. We do not hold community fire drills, which obviously would be disruptive, but a critical mass of people would learn how the command and control system you need in an emergency clicks in. It seems to me that it is necessary to have an early warning, and then to evacuate the most vulnerable people first. It is left as far as I can tell very much up to the landholders how much vegetation they have on their land and their general preparedness for the risk of fire. The actions of neighbours can influence vulnerability.
These questions, and others, we hope, no doubt will be answered by the Victorian Bushfire Inquiry.
The earthquake in Fiordland at 7.8 was strongest recorded this year, so there might have been cause for concern. There were aftershocks recorded of 5.2 and 4.5. Why did not a earthquake of that magnitude produce some tsunami effect?
David Brooks in The Sydney Morning Herald reports the earthquake was the biggest recorded in NZ for 78 years with remarkably little damage.