National Weather Service Recognizes Ponce as TsunamiReady™ 

Mar 02, 2010

Ponce Municipality, Puerto Rico National Weather Service Recognizes Ponce as TsunamiReady™

From left to right in the picture you have, Heriberto Sauri, PREMA  Director; Gisela Báez, Geologist from PRSN; Christa Von-Hillebrandt,
Manager Caribbean Tsunami Warning Program; Hon. María Meléndez Altieri, Ponce Mayor; Ruben Rivera, Chief Emergency Manager; Israel Matos, Meteorologist in Charge NWS San Juan.



NOAA National Weather Service Recognizes Ponce
As a TsunamiReadyTM Community 
            Officials from the NOAA National Weather Service have recognized Ponce as a TsunamiReadyTM community in the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico. Ponce is the second largest city on the island and the ninth to be recognized as TsunamiReadyTM.
“While no community can be tsunami proof, Ponce now has the means to minimize the loss of life from any future tsunami,” said Bill Proenza, regional director of the National Weather Service Southern Region. “A tsunami may not strike for many generations, but then again, it could happen tomorrow – as evidenced by the recent earthquake and deadly tsunami in Haiti. We continue to look forward to expanding the program to include all Puerto Rico coastal communities and eventually – all of our Caribbean neighbors.”
Following the deadly Indian Ocean Tsunami of 2004, the NOAA National Weather Service embarked on a rapid expansion of its tsunami observation and communications network. To date, a total of 39 Deep-ocean Assessment and Reporting of Tsunami (DART) buoy stations have been deployed. Seven of them are strategically located in the Atlantic and Caribbean Basins and the Gulf of Mexico to give forecasters the capability to monitor conditions and warn for tsunamis in the Caribbean and along the nation’s Eastern and Gulf Coasts.
            The DART system is designed to provide tsunami detection as waves travel across the open ocean. The stations are equipped with advanced two-way satellite communications that allows forecasters to receive and retrieve critical data in real-time. 
            Located in the island’s Southern Coastal Plain region, Ponce has a population of nearly 200,000. Working closely with the National Weather Service forecast office in San Juan, as well as the Puerto Rico Seismic network, Ponce completed a rigorous set of warning and evacuation criteria to meet the guidelines for TsunamiReadyTM recognition. To be recognized as TsunamiReadyTM, a community must establish a 24 hour warning point, develop multiple ways to receive tsunami warnings and alert the public, develop a formal tsunami hazard plan, conduct emergency exercises and promote public readiness through community education.                                                           
            City officials were presented with a recognition letter and special TsunamiReadyTM signs in a ceremony at the Mayor’s Office in Ponce. The TsunamiReadyTM process is ongoing and the city will be up for renewed recognition in three years.
Seventy three communities along the U.S. East and West Coasts, Alaska, Hawaii, Guam, Puerto Rico and the northern Mariana Islands have previously been recognized as TsunamiReadyTM. Additional information is available at is the U.S. government's official web portal to all federal, state and local government web resources and services.