The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration has an online interactive tsunami evacuation map that shows people the safest places to go during a tsunami threat.
But that site was temporarily down during the tsunami watch, citing the federal government shutdown.
We asked NOAA why something that provides such essential information would be taken offline. Officials responded Wednesday with the following statement:
“NOAA is working to ensure that the site will remain accessible going forward. Websites with a ‘primary mission essential function’ designation remain available in the event of a lapse in government appropriations. NOAA’s Office for Coastal Management has requested that NOAA designate this website as such.”
The interactive map is also used by our state and city. After bringing the issue to the city’s attention, a spokesperson sent us this statement:
“The website displaying the interactive tsunami evacuation map was linked to a federal government website which was impacted by the recent shutdown of the federal government. Now that we are aware of this problem, the city and the Department of Emergency Management are ensuring that this information will remain available online. The PDF version of the maps were still available and continue to remain available online.“
We asked Hawaii Emergency Management Agency if it had a backup evacuation map. A spokesman tells us its website mirrors tsunami evacuation zone maps provided by NOAA.
People can also check the City and County of Honolulu’s Department of Emergency Management website or in phone books.
HI-EMA recommends that residents familiarize themselves with their local evacuation zones, including Extreme Tsunami Evacuation Zones, before emergencies occur.