Ile des Pins: Tsunami alert – 1

October 8th 1055: Suddenly a catamaran motored towards ADAGIO, and the skipper was shouting, “Big Wave, Tsunami coming. Go out to deep water!” Wow! First we put on our life jackets, then raised the anchor and were one of the first boats out of the anchorage. We turned on the radio, and monitored all messages between boats. An earthquake near Vanuatu. The resulting tsunami was due in New Caledonia at about 1100 hours, ten minutes after we received the alert. We motored away from land to an area of 25 meters depth. We heard on the radio that the Loyalty Islands and the east coast of New Caledonia had been evacuated. There was some confusion on the radio reports as to when the tsunami alert had been cancelled. By 1 PM we were re-anchored in Kuto Bay, greatly relieved that the tsunami waves had not come to New Caledonia.

The NOAA Pacific Tsunami Warning Center issued the first of nine related bulletins at 07 Oct 2009 2216Z (that is 08 Oct 0916 NCT = local New Caledonia time). That is about one hour 15 minutes before we heard anything by the jungle telegraph in Kuto Bay:

TSUNAMI BULLETIN NUMBER 001

PACIFIC TSUNAMI WARNING CENTER/NOAA/NWS

ISSUED AT 2217Z 07 OCT 2009


THIS BULLETIN APPLIES TO AREAS WITHIN AND BORDERING THE PACIFIC

OCEAN AND ADJACENT SEAS…EXCEPT ALASKA…BRITISH COLUMBIA…

WASHINGTON…OREGON AND CALIFORNIA.


… A TSUNAMI WARNING AND WATCH ARE IN EFFECT …


A TSUNAMI WARNING IS IN EFFECT FOR


VANUATU / SOLOMON IS. / NAURU / PAPUA NEW GUINEA / TUVALU /

NEW CALEDONIA / FIJI / KIRIBATI / KOSRAE / WALLIS-FUTUNA /

HOWLAND-BAKER


A TSUNAMI WATCH IS IN EFFECT FOR


MARSHALL IS. / TOKELAU / KERMADEC IS / POHNPEI / NEW ZEALAND /

SAMOA / AMERICAN SAMOA / TONGA / AUSTRALIA / NIUE /

COOK ISLANDS / CHUUK / INDONESIA / WAKE IS. / JARVIS IS. /

PALMYRA IS. / GUAM / N. MARIANAS / JOHNSTON IS. / YAP /

MARCUS IS. / BELAU


FOR ALL OTHER AREAS COVERED BY THIS BULLETIN… IT IS FOR

INFORMATION ONLY AT THIS TIME.


THIS BULLETIN IS ISSUED AS ADVICE TO GOVERNMENT AGENCIES. ONLY

NATIONAL AND LOCAL GOVERNMENT AGENCIES HAVE THE AUTHORITY TO MAKE

DECISIONS REGARDING THE OFFICIAL STATE OF ALERT IN THEIR AREA AND

ANY ACTIONS TO BE TAKEN IN RESPONSE.


AN EARTHQUAKE HAS OCCURRED WITH THESE PRELIMINARY PARAMETERS


ORIGIN TIME – 2203Z 07 OCT 2009

COORDINATES – 13.0 SOUTH 166.3 EAST

DEPTH – 33 KM

LOCATION – VANUATU ISLANDS

MAGNITUDE – 8.0


EVALUATION


IT IS NOT KNOWN THAT A TSUNAMI WAS GENERATED. THIS WARNING IS

BASED ONLY ON THE EARTHQUAKE EVALUATION. AN EARTHQUAKE OF THIS

SIZE HAS THE POTENTIAL TO GENERATE A DESTRUCTIVE TSUNAMI THAT CAN

STRIKE COASTLINES NEAR THE EPICENTER WITHIN MINUTES AND MORE

DISTANT COASTLINES WITHIN HOURS. AUTHORITIES SHOULD TAKE

APPROPRIATE ACTION IN RESPONSE TO THIS POSSIBILITY. THIS CENTER

WILL MONITOR SEA LEVEL DATA FROM GAUGES NEAR THE EARTHQUAKE TO

DETERMINE IF A TSUNAMI WAS GENERATED AND ESTIMATE THE SEVERITY OF

THE THREAT.


ESTIMATED INITIAL TSUNAMI WAVE ARRIVAL TIMES AT FORECAST POINTS

WITHIN THE WARNING AND WATCH AREAS ARE GIVEN BELOW. ACTUAL

ARRIVAL TIMES MAY DIFFER AND THE INITIAL WAVE MAY NOT BE THE

LARGEST. A TSUNAMI IS A SERIES OF WAVES AND THE TIME BETWEEN

SUCCESSIVE WAVES CAN BE FIVE MINUTES TO ONE HOUR.


LOCATION FORECAST POINT COORDINATES ARRIVAL TIME

——————————– ———— ————

<snip all locations but AUS and Newcal>

NEW CALEDONIA NOUMEA 22.3S 166.5E 0015Z 08 OCT

AUSTRALIA BRISBANE 27.2S 153.3E 0155Z 08 OCT

   CAIRNS 16.7S 145.8E 0204Z 08 OCT

   SYDNEY 33.9S 151.4E 0228Z 08 OCT

   GLADSTONE 23.8S 151.4E 0301Z 08 OCT

   MACKAY 21.1S 149.3E 0322Z 08 OCT

   HOBART 43.3S 147.6E 0355Z 08 OCT

<snip>


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