NOAA’S Tsunami Predictions

March 14, 2011

Has anyone noticed how good the Tsunami forecast times and heights were?  Especially the arrival timesI think I made an error.  NOAA changed the “forecast arrival times” in the verification so they could compare the model’s peak height with the actual peak height.  So I just deleted the first set of numbers.  It did seem a bit weird that the Tsunami arrived within one minute of forecast in all areas didn’t it? They say models were 3-15 minutes too fast.  Anyway, check these out:

LOCATION, Arrival Time,  Fcst Height/Actual Height (time is A.M., height is meters, some had no forecast or arrival times)

Neah Bay, WA: 7:10  .40/.43

Westport, WA: 7:25  .54/.46

Astoria:  7:44   .27/.18

Garibaldi:  7:18   

Newport: 7:26   .43 (actual)

Charleston: 7:15    .58/.71

Port Orford: (no arrival time)  1.82/2.02

Crescent City, CA: 2.50/2.47

Not detected:  Upstream on Columbia at Wauna or Skamokawa.

Now check out the gauge data from Garibaldi.  The wave arrives around 7:18am, but the largest fluctuations are more like three hours later.  I noticed down on the southern Oregon coast, where the wave was much higher, the highest amplitude was also in the 2-3 hour range (post-arrival).  Another good reason to keep in mind that often the succeding waves/surges are higher than the first.  You can also see that the northeast Pacific didn’t really calm down for about 24 hours.  Basically water was sloshing around all over the place on our side of the planet.

NOAA’s Pacific Marine Environmental Laboratory has an excellent animation of the surge spreading across the Pacific right here.

Chief Meteorologist Mark Nelsen