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During a tsunami, dangerous coastal flooding and powerful currents are possible and may continue for several hours or days after initial arrival. The first wave may not be the last or the largest.

Respond to a Tsunami Warning


How you respond to a tsunami warning depends on where you are and how you receive the warning. As described in Understand the Warnings, there are two types of tsunami warnings, official and natural. Both are equally important and suggest the potential for a tsunami that may cause widespread flooding. You may not get both types of warnings. Be prepared to respond to whatever you hear or see first. For your safety and others, always follow instructions from local officials.

If you are outside of the tsunami hazard or evacuation zone and you receive an official or natural tsunami warning, a tsunami is possible or likely, but you are in a safe place. Stay where you are unless local officials tell you otherwise.

Official Tsunami Warning

If you are anywhere in a tsunami hazard or evacuation zone or a low-lying coastal area and you receive an official tsunami warning, a tsunami is likely. The warning will estimate the tsunami's arrival time, describe potential impacts and recommend actions to take.

  • Stay out of the water and away from beaches and waterways.
  • Get more information about the threat and what to do from NOAA Weather Radio, local radio or television or your mobile device (text or data). Limit nonemergency phone calls to keep the lines open for emergency communications.
  • If local officials ask you to evacuate, implement your emergency plan and move quickly to your safe place outside the hazard or evacuation zone unless officials tell you to go somewhere else. If you do not have a safe place or cannot reach it, follow evacuation signs to safety or go as high or as far inland (away from the water) as possible.
Natural Tsunami Warning

If you are in a tsunami hazard or evacuation zone or a low-lying coastal area and you feel a strong or long earthquake, the ocean acts strange (e.g., it looks like a fast-rising flood or a wall of water or it drains away suddenly, showing the ocean floor like a very low tide) OR there is a loud roar coming from the ocean, a tsunami is possible and could arrive within minutes.

  • In case of an earthquake, protect yourself. Drop, cover and hold on. Be prepared for aftershocks, which happen frequently after earthquakes. Each time the earth shakes, drop, cover and hold on.
  • Do not wait for an official tsunami warning or for instructions from local officials.
  • As soon as you can move safely, implement your emergency plan and move quickly to your safe place outside the hazard or evacuation zone. If you do not have a safe place or cannot reach it, follow evacuation signs to safety or go as high or as far inland (away from the water) as possible.
  • When you are in a safe place, get more information about the threat and what to do from NOAA Weather Radio, local radio or television or your mobile device (text or data). Limit nonemergency phone calls to keep the lines open for emergency communications.
  • If there is earthquake damage, avoid fallen power lines and stay away from buildings, bridges and piers because heavy objects may fall from them during an aftershock.
  • Follow instructions from local officials. It is their job to keep you safe.
  • Stay out of the tsunami hazard or evacuation zone until local officials tell you it is safe. The first wave may not be the last or the largest and the danger may last for hours or days.

Note: If you are on the beach or near the water and feel an earthquake—no matter how big or how long it lasts—move quickly off the beach to high ground or inland (away from the water) as soon as you can do so safely. Get more information from the sources noted above.


Stay Safe
  • If there is earthquake damage, avoid fallen power lines and stay away from buildings, bridges and piers because heavy objects may fall from them during an aftershock.
  • Follow instructions from local officials. It is their job to keep you safe.
  • Stay out of the tsunami hazard or evacuation zone until local officials tell you it is safe. The first wave may not be the last or the largest and the danger may last for hours or days.

Stay Informed

Keep listening to NOAA Weather Radio or local radio or television or using your mobile device (text or data) to get the latest updates. Limit nonemergency phone calls to keep the lines open for emergency communications.


Observe Other Tsunami Alerts

During a tsunami advisory:

  • Stay out of the water and away from beaches and waterways. A tsunami with potential for strong currents or waves dangerous to people in or very near the water is expected or occurring.
  • Get updates about the tsunami from NOAA Weather Radio, local radio or television or your mobile device.
  • Follow instructions from local officials.

During a tsunami watch:

  • Get updates about the potential threat from NOAA Weather Radio, local radio or television or your mobile device.
  • Follow instructions from local officials.
  • Prepare to take action if necessary.