Bermuda will join other localities in the Caribbean as a participant in a tsunami response exercise on March 15, 2018, titled CARIBE WAVE 18. The purpose of this exercise is to evaluate local tsunami response plans, increase tsunami preparedness, and improve coordination throughout the region. The Bermuda Weather Service will receive direct email messaging from the Pacific Tsunami Warning Center during the exercise, simulating a similar process to that of a real event. With these email notifications the weather service will contact EMO as necessary, and issue Tsunami Watches/Warnings based on the email information received. These watches/warnings will be conveyed to the Bermuda community at large via all the usual media channels used by the Bermuda Weather Service. The 2018 exercise will simulate an earthquake along the Caribbean coast of Barbados (Southern Caribbean). The resulting exercise tsunami wave will affect Bermuda, as well as other jurisdictions in the Atlantic and Caribbean.
This proposed exercise is a very realistic one – over 87 years ago a tsunami affected Bermuda in November 1929, with a point of origin off the Grand Banks of Newfoundland, Canada. Bermuda has changed considerably since then, and waterfront properties, shipping industry, ocean activities (beach or mariners) and moored vessels have all come into existence or increased considerably. Many people are surprised to hear that Bermuda has in fact experienced a tsunami. Any coastline is at risk of tsunami impact and there is much confusion on this topic locally. The low frequency of these events is disarming, but the potentially devastating effects warrant at least a basic action plan that involves knowing factual tsunami basics for our area, the signs that a tsunami may be approaching, where to go for current information (www.weather.bm and “like” BWS - Bermuda Weather Service on Facebook for quick social media notifications) and what to do in a Tsunami Watch or Warning situation (including knowing the defined differences between a watch and a warning).
Residents should not be alarmed to note the Exercise Watches & Warnings posted via the Bermuda Weather Channel on CableVision and WOW, the weather telephone recordings (977, 9771, 9772, and 9773), www.weather.bm, BWS Facebook page or broadcast via VHF Radio (via Bermuda Radio). Residents and local agencies should however, note the relevant information contained within the exercise warnings and take the opportunity to think about their state of readiness and actions, should such an actual event occur, as this exercise offers the opportunity to exercise their communications procedures.
There will be various levels of participation in this exercise throughout the community. The Bermuda Weather Service (operated by CI² Aviation Bermuda Ltd. on behalf of the Government of Bermuda/Bermuda Airport Authority) will fully respond to the exercise to test the communication of information and dissemination of watches and warnings. RCC Bermuda/Bermuda Maritime Operations Centre will also participate in CARIBE WAVE 18 in a limited operational capacity and an EMO discussion will take place during the time of the exercise.
This exercise is sponsored by the UNESCO/IOC Intergovernmental Coordination Group for Tsunami and Other Coastal Hazards Warning System for the Caribbean and Adjacent Regions (ICG/CARIBE-EWS), the Caribbean Emergency Management Agency (CDEMA), the Centro de Coordinación para la Prevención de los Desastres Naturales en América Central (CEPREDENAC), and the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).
If any real tsunami threat occurs during the time period of the exercise, the exercise will be terminated.