Repeat Posting: Last Night’s "Tsunami" Episode of "Hawaii 5-0"

Update: In view of today’s tsunami, I have received two requests to repost this, so I am bumping it to the top.

The real Pacific Tsunami Warning Center, Honolulu

There was a lot of scientific mumbo-jumbo in last night’s “Hawaii 5-0.” Thought it would be fun to give you a rundown…

  • The sirens in Hawaii are used for tsunami warnings and they sound like the “tornado sirens” in tornado alley. Yes, they do have tornadoes in Hawaii and I do not know if they sound the sirens for those, also. 
Hawaii tornado, courtesy of KLFY
  • No, tsunamis are not tracked by weather radar.
  • Yes, buoys are critical for detecting a tsunami and communicating that information
  • Yes, underwater landslides can cause tsunamis
  • NOAA, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, the parent agency of the National Weather Service is also in charge of tsunami warnings. But, tsunami warnings are a different skill set than forecasting the weather. The former is usually done by oceanographers. 
  • You cannot outrun a tsunami. Their forward speed is hundreds of miles per hour. You have to be away from the beach long before the tsunami arrives. This video of the catastrophic tsunami in Indonesia, Christmas 2006, begins by showing the junk on the beach where the weather usually would be.
  • “Dano,” the character played by Scott Caan, got a basically correct explanation of how the buoys  and GOES satellite relay work. 
  • If you are near the beach and feel shaking (earthquake) or see the water leave, move to higher ground immediately!

Comments are closed.