New Tsunami.gov Website Represents Major Advance in Tsunami Warning Center Product Dissemination

Date Posted: April 7, 2017
Wildfire Outbreak - NOAA Photo Library

NOAA’s tsunami warning capabilities have greatly improved since the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami, and efforts continue to further enhance tsunami warning center operations to better meet the needs of our domestic and international partners. As part of this ongoing work, the National Weather Service’s (NWS) National Tsunami Warning Center (NTWC) and Pacific Tsunami Warning Center (PTWC), in collaboration with the NWS’s Tsunami Service Program, have made a fundamental change in how they provide information.

In March, the centers completed the transition of all warning center products to Tsunami.gov, which is now the official website for both warning centers. This consolidated portal eliminates potential confusion by using a single GIS-enabled map to display all warning center products. The site is intended as a one-stop shop for NWS operational tsunami products and related information and represents one of the most significant steps toward consistent operations and messaging taken by the NWS to date. The design of the new site is based largely on the previous NTWC site, which has been updated and modified to include PTWC products and information. Tsunami.gov introduces a new cross-center level of sophistication that allows for tsunami products to be consistently coded and more easily rendered. It resides on a National Centers for Environmental Prediction server.

In conjunction with this change in information delivery, responsibility for issuing U.S. domestic tsunami products for Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands has been shifted from NTWC to PTWC. This change in designated service areas improves the consistency of services for the Caribbean, consolidating Caribbean responsibilities under one warning center. Since 2005, PTWC has served as the primary international forecast center for countries in the Caribbean.

U.S. tsunami warning center product users are encouraged to change all links and bookmarks to http://tsunami.gov/ to maintain functionality and ensure continuity of product delivery. The original PTWC site will continue to operate in parallel for six months to ensure the new site is operating as anticipated. The warning centers and the service program will continue to work together to update the site over time to enhance usability and accessibility to information and respond to user feedback.

Location of fires that occurred from Feb. 23-24, 2017 in the Southern Great Plains region. Larger flame graphics represent larger fires. (WFO Norman)