In mid-June, tsunami-like waves hit the New Jersey shore, sweeping at least three people into the ocean.
The event occurred in close conjunction with a weather system labeled by the National Weather Service as a low-end derecho which propagated from west to east over the New Jersey shore just before the tsunami. It is also possible that the slumping at the continental shelf east of New Jersey played a role. The tsunami was observed at over 30 tide gauges and one DART buoy throughout the Northwestern Atlantic Ocean.
Read more here: http://oldwcatwc.arh.noaa.gov/previous.events/06-13-13/index.php
Tsunamis can come unexpectedly and very quickly, and the first wave is not always the largest in a possible series of several waves. Tsunami waves can travel as fast as 500 miles per hour and can raise water levels as much as 100 feet. If you live or vacation on an island or in a coastal location:
- learn what the tsunami warning alarms sound like (it will likely be similar to one of these)
- know what the signs of a tsunami are
- sign up for earthquake and tsunami alerts on your cell phone
- have a plan for evacuating to high ground in case of a tsunami warning
- follow suit if the locals start running for the hills
In a nutshell: If the tide ever drops suddenly, get to high ground immediately, because it will roar back with a vengeance and you cannot outrun it.
The most damaging tsunami is history was the 2004 tsunami that affected Thailand, Indonesia, Sri Lanka, and other countries. Over 200,000 people died and many more were injured in that tsunami alone. Footage from the 2004 tsunami was caught on camera by several individuals and compiled into a documentary for BBC Channel 4 (Directed by Janice Sutherland). Links to the film are below.
Please note: Much of this footage contains graphic and disturbing material, and there is profanity throughout. Please use caution when viewing, especially with children nearby.
Learn more about tsunamis at the NOAA Tsunami page.
Also download and review this helpful Tsunami brochure produced by UNESCO.