The National Weather Service has declared this week Tsunami Preparedness Week for the State of Maine. What? Is a tsunami actually possible for Maine?  Well, there's good news and bad news. According to the NWS:

THE GEORGES BANK SHELTERS THE COAST FROM A MAJOR TSUNAMI THREAT. HOWEVER, SMALL BUT DANGEROUS, DAMAGING, AND POTENTIALLY DEADLY TSUNAMI WAVES ARE POSSIBLE. IN THE GULF OF MAINE, THE GREATEST TSUNAMI THREAT WOULD BE FROM THE RAPID AND CHAOTIC CHANGES IN THE WATER LEVELS, AND THE STRONG CURRENTS THOSE CHANGES WOULD GENERATE. SOME INUNDATION OF LAND AREAS IS POSSIBLE AT THE TIME OF HIGH TIDE; HOWEVER, THE GREATEST THREAT FROM A TSUNAMI IS DUE TO THE POWERFUL FORCES GENERATED BY THE RAPIDLY MOVING WATER.

NOAA

 

What's the closest we've come to a tsunami in Maine? In 2008 there was a tidal surge in Boothbay Harbor that rapidly and repeatedly drained and refilled the harbor.

NOAA

How much warning would we have in Maine if there ever was a threat of tsunami? Not much. From the National Weather Service:

FOR MOST TSUNAMIS IN THE GULF OF MAINE, LITTLE, IF ANY, WARNING SHOULD BE EXPECTED. IF WATER LEVELS UNEXPECTEDLY START TO RECEDE OR INCREASE, OR IF STRONG CURRENTS UNEXPECTEDLY START TO DEVELOP, THE BEST ADVICE IS TO IMMEDIATELY GET OFF BEACHES AND MOVE AWAY FROM THE WATER`S EDGE TO HIGHER GROUND. DAMAGE TO BOATS, SHIPS, AND DOCKS MAY OCCUR, BUT PERSONAL SAFETY IS MORE IMPORTANT THAN DAMAGE. IF A DISTANT EVENT SUCH AS AN EARTHQUAKE IN THE PUERTO RICAN TRENCH IS FORECAST TO PRODUCE A TSUNAMI IN THE GULF OF MAINE, THERE MAY BE TIME TO TAKE ACTION TO LIMIT THE AMOUNT OF DAMAGE TO PROPERTY. SHIP AND BOAT OWNERS MAY WANT TO MOVE THEIR VESSELS OUT OF HARBORS AND CHANNELS TO DEEP WATERS OFF THE COAST FOR SAFETY