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Vessel Operators Briefed on Tsunami Risks in Upper Cook Inlet

April 26, 2024

ANCHORAGE, Alaska -- State and federal tsunami experts presented recent research to the Cook Inlet Harbor Safety Committee’s spring meeting in Anchorage on Friday. The meeting provided an opportunity for vessel operators to ask questions about the latest information on tsunami hazards in the Cook Inlet region.

Dave Snider, the Tsunami Warning Coordinator from the National Tsunami Warning Center, who presented at the meeting stated, "When the next tsunami reaches Alaska, our ports and harbors will be the first places that experience disruption and damage. Ensuring operators, response teams, and the maritime community understand the hazard is the first step in being Tsunami Ready".

A recent study of tsunami potential in upper Cook Inlet yielded results that indicated a rare, but real, tsunami hazard in low-lying areas around the area. Numerical models indicate that maximum inundation of low-lying areas in Anchorage would occur approximately 4.5 hours after the earthquake. Water levels may remain elevated above normal high tide for several hours at a time, and dangerous waves and currents could persist in upper Cook Inlet for up to 72 hours, during which time the sea could repeatedly advance and recede. The first wave may not be the largest.

“This presentation is an important example of the kind of information sharing that can be achieved through the Cook Inlet Harbor Safety Committee,” said Capt. Paul Mehler III, the Committee Chair. “The Committee provides a unique forum that lets us reach representatives of Cook Inlet’s diverse maritime sector from operators of large vessels to its fishing and recreational boater communities.” The Committee was also briefed on Marine Exchange of Alaska operations and shared updates from participating agencies, companies, and organizations.

The Cook Inlet Harbor Safety Committee formed in 2015 to enhance marine safety and environmental stewardship through collaboration of the maritime community and other stakeholders. For more information see ( The tsunami inundation maps of Anchorage and upper Cook Inlet, including the technical report, ArcGIS StoryMap, and educational video can be found at



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