Signs in Prince Rupert point to a tsunami evacuation route in low-lying areas. (Ed Evans / the Northern View)

Tsunami warnings 101: Canada

Here are some things to know about tsunami alerts in Canada and how they work

  • Jan. 23, 2018 12:00 a.m.

Some residents along British Columbia’s coastline were woken by tsunami warning sirens early Tuesday morning shortly after an earthquake struck off the coast of Alaska.

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Here are some things to know about tsunami alerts in Canada:

— British Columbia learns about potential tsunamis from the U.S. National Tsunami Warning Center.

— The centre uses seismometers and sea level measuring stations, which send real time data to national and regional warning centres, to determine whether there’s a risk.

— After receiving notice from the U.S., federal and provincial emergency officials assess the information to determine whether it poses a threat to B.C.

— There are five levels of alerts that B.C. can send out: a warning, an advisory, a watch, an information statement and a cancellation.

— A tsunami warning means that a “flood wave” is possible and a full evacuation is suggested.

— An advisory means there will likely be strong currents and people should stay away from the shore.

— A watch means the government does not yet know how dangerous the situation is, and people should stay alert as they wait for more information.

— An information statement means an earthquake has occurred, or that a tsunami warning, watch or advisory has been issued for another section of the ocean. But in most cases, there is no threat of a destructive tsunami.

— A cancellation is issued when there’s no longer a threat.

Video

Related: Tsunami warning cancelled for coastal British Columbia

Related: Evacuated Tofino and Ucluelet residents head home after Tsunami Warning cancelled

Related: Tsunami warning prompts evacuations in Port Alberni

The Canadian Press

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