Tsunami sirens to sound in test at noon today

Alarm sirens will sound along the low-lying coastal beaches in Clallam and Jefferson counties at noon today.

Clallam and Jefferson County share a coastline with subduction zone geology known as the Cascadia Subduction zone, pointed out Jamye Wisecup, program coordinator at the Clallam County emergency management center.

All Hazard Alert Broadcast (AHAB) Siren testing is part of both counties’ Tsunami Ready program.

Those outside along a low-lying coastal area and within 4,000 feet of one of the sirens will hear Winchester Chimes sound for 10 seconds during the test.

In Clallam County, sirens are at Diamond Point, Dungeness, Morse Creek, Marine Drive in Port Angeles, Lower Elwha Klallam Community Center, Clallam Bay, La Push and Neah Bay.

In Jefferson County, sirens are at three sites in Port Townsend — the Port Townsend marina, Point Hudson and Fort Worden — and on the Hoh reservation on the West End.

Emergency preparedness officials ask that residents use the sound of the Winchester chimes followed by the voice message indicating in English and in Spanish that it is a test as a reminder to think about who depends on you in emergencies and question if you are prepared to take action.

The ground would shake anywhere from 1 to 10 minutes in the case of an actual subduction zone earthquake that could produce tsunami waves along the western United States coast, Wisecup said.

“The 2011 Tōhoku Subduction zone earthquake ruptured and shook for at least 6 minutes,” she said.

“The 2004 Indian Ocean undersea megathrust earthquake shook between 8.3 and 10 minutes.”

During a real event, both the AHAB sirens and NOAA AHAB radios would sound a warning message.

The earthquake itself is the warning signal to evacuate out of low-lying coastal areas and immediately move to higher ground.

Washington State Emergency Management Division has developed these pole-mounted siren systems that are now deployed throughout the coast and inland waterways of our state.

The AHAB sirens’ purpose is to warn vulnerable coastal communities when a tsunami or other disaster is imminent so that lives can be saved through a timely evacuation.

For more details about the siren, visit the Washington State Emergency Management Division website at https://mil.wa.gov/static/78/tsunami.

Wednesday at noon is the next test date for the NOAA AHAB radios that many Peninsula residents have inside their homes and businesses. This will be a voice-only test of the NOAA alert system.

For more information on emergency preparedness in Jefferson and Clallam County, go to www.emd.wa.gov.

For more information on tsunamis and warning systems, go to www.clallam.net/Emergency Management/resources.html#tsunamis.

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