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About PTWC Messages

Message Criteria are listed by area of responsibility (message samples in parentheses).

Pacific Ocean Hawaiʻi Caribbean Sea
Local Events
Magnitude Message Type WMO AWIPS NWW
≥7.6 Statewide Urgent Local Tsunami Warning
(VTEC sample*)
WEHW40 PHEB TSUHWX HFOTSUHWX
Statewide Urgent Local Tsunami Warning Supplement
Statewide Urgent Local Tsunami Warning Cancellation (VTEC sample*)
6.9-7.5 Urgent Local Tsunami Warning
(VTEC sample*)
WEHW40 PHEB TSUHWX HFOTSUHWX
Urgent Local Tsunami Warning Supplement
Urgent Local Tsunami Warning Cancellation
(VTEC sample*)
4.0-6.8 Local Tsunami Information (sample) SEHW70 PHEB EQIHWX HFOEQIHWX

Distant Events
Magnitude Message Type WMO AWIPS NWW
≥7.9 and
ETA <3 hr
Tsunami Warning (VTEC sample*)
Tsunami Warning Supplement
Tsunami Warning Cancellation
(VTEC sample*)
WEHW40 PHEB TSUHWX HFOTSUHWX
≥7.9 and
ETA 3-6 hr
Tsunami Watch (VTEC sample*)
Tsunami Watch Supplement
Tsunami Watch Cancellation
(VTEC sample*)
WEHW40 PHEB TSUHWX HFOTSUHWX
≥7.9 and
ETA >6 hr
Tsunami Advisory (VTEC sample*)
Tsunami Advisory Supplement
Final Tsunami Advisory (VTEC sample*)
WEHW40 PHEB TSUHWX HFOTSUHWX
6.5-7.8 Tsunami Information (sample) WEHW42 PHEB TIBHWX HFOTIBHWX

* Effective 09:00am HST (19:00 UTC) on 4 June 2009, warning/watch/advisory messages issued to Hawaiʻi will include a VTEC code.

Colors correspond to the message severity (red=most, green=least).
"ETA" = estimated time of arrival (time with tsunami predicted to arrive)
"WMO" = World Meteorological Organization message header (more information).
"AWIPS" = Advanced Weather Interactive Processing System header (more information).
"NWW" = NOAA Weather Wire header (more information).
For more information, see NOAAPORT.

Hawaii Message Definitions:

  • Tsunami Warning
    A tsunami warning is issued when a potential tsunami with significant widespread inundation is imminent or expected. Warnings alert the public that widespread, dangerous coastal flooding accompanied by powerful currents is possible and may continue for several hours after arrival of the initial wave. Warnings also alert emergency management officials to take action for the entire tsunami hazard zone. Appropriate actions to be taken by local officials may include the evacuation of low-lying coastal areas, and the repositioning of ships to deep waters when there is time to safely do so. Warnings may be updated, adjusted geographically, downgraded, or canceled. To provide the earliest possible alert, initial warnings are normally based only on seismic information.

  • Tsunami Watch
    A tsunami watch is issued to alert emergency management officials and the public of an event which may later impact the watch area. The watch area may be upgraded to a warning or advisory - or canceled - based on updated information and analysis. Therefore, emergency management officials and the public should prepare to take action. Watches are normally issued based on seismic information without confirmation that a destructive tsunami is underway.

  • Tsunami Advisory
    A tsunami advisory is issued due to the threat of a potential tsunami which may produce strong currents or waves dangerous to those in or near the water. Coastal regions historically prone to damage due to strong currents induced by tsunamis are at the greatest risk. The threat may continue for several hours after the arrival of the initial wave, but significant widespread inundation is not expected for areas under an advisory. Appropriate actions to be taken by local officials may include closing beaches, evacuating harbors and marinas, and the repositioning of ships to deep waters when there is time to safely do so. Advisories are normally updated to continue the advisory, expand/contract affected areas, upgrade to a warning, or cancel the advisory.

  • Tsunami Information Statement
    A Tsunami Information Statement is issued to inform emergency management officials and the public that an earthquake has occurred. In most cases, information statements are issued to indicate there is no threat of a destructive tsunami and to prevent unnecessary evacuations as the earthquake may have been felt in coastal areas. An information statement may, in appropriate situations, caution about the possibility of destructive local tsunamis. Information statements may be re-issued with additional information, though normally these messages are not updated. However, a watch, advisory or warning may be issued for the area, if necessary, after analysis and/or updated information becomes available.

  • Tsunami Seismic Information Statement
    A Tsunami Seismic Information Statements is issued to inform emergency management officials and the public that an earthquake has occurred, and determines the likelihood of tsunami impact and preliminary details of the earthquake magnitude. These messages are issued to prevent unnecessary evacuations.

  • Tsunami Warning Cancellation
    A final product indicating the end of the damaging tsunami threat. A cancellation is usually issued after an evaluation of sea level data confirms that a destructive tsunami will not impact the warned area.



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