NWS Lake Charles Tsunami Focal Point Joe Rua gives tsunami presentation as Lake Charles MIC Andy Patrick and Cameron Parish OEP Director Eddie Benoit look on (Photo: WFO Lake Charles)
(April 16, 2012) - The National Weather Service forecast office in Lake Charles, La. and the Cameron Parish Office of Emergency Preparedness completed their first tsunami drill as part of the LANTEX12 Atlantic and Gulf of Mexico Tsunami Exercise. The exercise was one of numerous activities as part of Tsunami Awareness Week.
The drill was based on a credible scenario. It presumed an earthquake triggered a submarine landslide along the continental shelf off the southwest coast of Florida. This generated a Gulf of Mexico-wide tsunami which produced a three-foot water level rise along the Cameron Parish coast, a long with very strong currents and wave action.
The main purpose of the drill was to evaluate the office's tsunami response plans and preparedness, and to test coordination with local emergency management partners in the Cameron Parish Office of Emergency Preparedness.
Even though a tsunami would be a rare event for the Lake Charles forecast area, there is enough of a tsunami risk to form plans with local emergency management officials.
"We always have to be ready for the rare hard to predict event," said Joe Rua, tsunami focal point for the Lake Charles forecast office. "I believe this was a great first step to begin the dialogue with our coastal customers on the Gulf of Mexico tsunami risk."
Cameron Parish Director of Emergency Preparedness Eddie Benoit is in the final stages of getting his parish StormReady® and is also taking steps to have the parish become TsunamiReady®. The Lake Charles office has also been in contact with other coastal emergency management officials about future tsunami presentations to continue to emphasize the total coastal hazard from potential tsunamis.