Skip to main content
U.S. flag

An official website of the United States government

Intra-community implications of implementing multiple tsunami-evacuation zones in Alameda, California

January 1, 2016

Tsunami-evacuation planning in coastal communities is typically based on maximum evacuation zones for a single scenario or a composite of sources; however, this approach may over-evacuate a community and overly disrupt the local economy and strain emergency-service resources. To minimize the potential for future over-evacuations, multiple evacuation zones based on arrival time and inundation extent are being developed for California coastal communities. We use the coastal city of Alameda, California (USA), as a case study to explore population and evacuation implications associated with multiple tsunami-evacuation zones. We use geospatial analyses to estimate the number and type of people in each tsunami-evacuation zone and anisotropic pedestrian evacuation models to estimate pedestrian travel time out of each zone. Results demonstrate that there are tens of thousands of individuals in tsunami-evacuation zones on the two main islands of Alameda, but they will likely have sufficient time to evacuate before wave arrival. Quality of life could be impacted by the high number of government offices, schools, day-care centers, and medical offices in certain evacuation zones and by potentially high population density at one identified safe area after an evacuation. Multi-jurisdictional evacuation planning may be warranted, given that many at-risk individuals may need to evacuate to neighboring jurisdictions. The use of maximum evacuation zones for local tsunami sources may be warranted given the limited amount of available time to confidently recommend smaller zones which would result in fewer evacuees; however, this approach may also result in over-evacuation and the incorrect perception that successful evacuations are unlikely.

Publication Year 2016
Title Intra-community implications of implementing multiple tsunami-evacuation zones in Alameda, California
DOI 10.1007/s11069-016-2469-8
Authors Jeff Peters, Nathan J. Wood, Rick Wilson, Kevin Miller
Publication Type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Series Title Natural Hazards
Index ID 70180309
Record Source USGS Publications Warehouse
USGS Organization Western Geographic Science Center