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Tsunami? There’s an app for that

Tsunami app

Residents along the Pacific Northwest coast of the U.S. can now get an a better idea of where a tsunami could hit using their smart phones via a new suite of online portal and apps from a regional affiliate of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

NOAA’s Pacific Northwest Tsunami Evacuation Zones online portal and free apps provide an at-a-glance view of tsunami hazard zones along the coasts of Oregon and Washington.

“These are potentially life-saving tools now available for free to the people who live, work and play on our ocean and coastal waters in the Northwest,” said Zdenka Willis, U.S. Integrated Ocean Observing System (IOOS) program director.

IOOS is a federal, regional, and private-sector partnership working to enhance NOAA’s ability to collect, deliver and use ocean information. IOOS delivers data and information on oceans and coasts, so decision-makers can act to improve safety, enhance the economy, and protect the environment, said NOAA.

The Northwest Association of Networked Ocean Observing System (NANOOS) --  a regional IOOS member  --  developed the tool and launched it in partnership with the Oregon Department of Geology and Mineral Industries and Washington State Department of Natural Resources, agencies responsible for the original development of the evacuation zones, said NOAA.

“The system integrates maps and allows users to see if they are in an evacuation zone, as well as plan evacuation routes,” said Jan Newton, executive director for NANOOS. “Planning tools like this are essential to safeguarding lives and property.”

NOAA said its National Tsunami Hazard Mitigation Program provided funding to develop tsunami inundation models used to map the evacuation zones displayed in the app.