National Weather Service United States Department of Commerce
In the Community banner

NWS/Cameron Parish OEP Tsunami Drill

NWS tsunami drill image NWS tsunami drill image
NWS tsunami drill image NWS tsunami drill image
 NWS tsunami drill image NWS tsunami drill image 
Click on images for a larger version

On Wednesday, March 28, 2012, the National Weather Service in Lake Charles completed its first tsunami drill as part of the LANTEX12 Atlantic and Gulf of Mexico Tsunami Exercise. The drill was also part of activities for National Tsunami Awareness Week. The drill was based on the credible scenario, that an earthquake triggers a sub-marine landslide along the continental shelf off the southwest coast of Florida. This in turn generates a Gulf of Mexico-wide tsunami. This tsunami would produce a 3-foot water level rise along the Cameron Parish (Louisiana) coast, along with very strong currents and wave action. The main purpose of the drill was to evaluate NWS Lake Charles tsunami response plans and preparedness, and improve coordination with local emergency management partners, in this case the Cameron Parish Office of Emergency Preparedness.

The drill was led by Joe Rua, NWS Lake Charles Lead Forecaster and office Tsunami Focal Point. Attendees included: Eddie Benoit, the Director of the Cameron Parish Office of Emergency Preparedness; Andy Patrick, Meteorologist-In-Charge NWS Lake Charles; and Felix Navejar, Science and Operations Officer NWS Lake Charles. Other NWS Lake Charles staff members that were operational at the office during the drill were Lead Forecaster John Trares, Forecaster Andy Tingler, Hydro-MetTech Jimmy Nunn, and Information Technology Officer James Raley.

Even though a tsunami would be a rare event for the NWS Lake Charles forecast area, there is enough of a tsunami risk to form plans with local emergency management officials. “We always have to be ready for the rare hard to predict event,” said Rua. “I believe this was a great first step to begin the dialogue with our coastal customers on the Gulf of Mexico tsunami risk.” Mr. Benoit was also pleased with the drill, stating that he is in the final stages of getting his parish StormReady. He is also very interested in taking steps to have his parish Tsunami Ready.

The National Weather Service Lake Charles has been in contact with other coastal emergency management officials about future tsunami presentations, and plans to continue to further emphasize the total coastal hazard impact umbrella, in its area of responsibility, which in the forefront are Hurricanes and Tropical Storms. However such hazards now also include low water events and the rare tsunami.