Low probability, high impact: Tsunamis join list of Gulf Coast t - FOX 8 WVUE New Orleans News, Weather, Sports

Low probability, high impact: Tsunamis join list of Gulf Coast threats

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NEW ORLEANS, LA (WVUE) - Along the Gulf Coast,we're prepared for the annual threat of hurricanes. Now tsunamis have joinedthe list.

Researchers with the NationalWeather Service say a 15-foot wall of water could roll across Grand Isle if alandslide happened in the Mississippi Canyon, a deep trench on the floor of theGulf of Mexico.

Joe Rua, the tsunamiprogram manager for the weather service's Lake Charles office, doesn't wantanyone to panic, but he says the threat is real.

"It's a low probabilityevent but a very high impact event, so a lot of people are not aware thatthere's a tsunami hazard along the Gulf Coast," Rua said. "What causes atsunami here in the Gulf of Mexico are basically submarine landslides - notreally earthquakes, but the kind of a landslide that occurs along the ContinentalShelf."

Because those"landslides" don't register seismically like an earthquake, the coastwould get just a few hours of warning.

TheNational Weather Service started investigating the threat after the disastroustsunami in the Indian Ocean in 2004. 

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