Spurred by recent tsunami and hurricane disasters in the US and around the world, NOAA, USGS, and other government agencies are taking a closer look at the hazards lurking on US shores.
An improved, big-picture assessment of the dangers along the Atlantic, Pacific, and Gulf coasts is scheduled to be released around the first of April 2007. The new information will combine data on the frequency of sizable waves generated by underwater earthquakes, the maximum height of wave run-ups onshore, and the magnitude and location of earthquake incidents. Previous assessments have not been as comprehensive, says NOAA's Paula Dunbar (303-497-6084). The report should be available here.
At a much more localized level, agencies are in the midst of developing high-resolution imagery of the terrain above and below the water near the shoreline of about 100 US cities.
The initial terrain data have been developed for 10 cities, and modeling of impacts of tsunamis, hurricanes, and other flood sources is underway. NOAA: Release of Feb. 13, 2007; John Leslie, 301-713-1265.
It will be a while before new lines in the sand, better representing vulnerable areas, are drawn by local officials. But at this stage, knowing that the cities have been designated high-priority areas, it will be useful to begin asking local officials what steps they are taking to protect their citizens.
To identify the targeted cities, click on the globe image here. You'll also get some feel for the scheduled year of completion for each area. With current budgets, NOAA is planning on completing nine areas each year, according to Lisa Taylor (303-497-6767).