A Tsunami hazard zone warning sign.

A Tsunami hazard zone warning sign. (Photo by Derin/Flickr Creative Commons)

Yesterday was the last day that the tsunami warning center in Palmer, Alaska will be the West Coast and Alaska Tsunami Warning Center. Today, the center’s new name will be the National Tsunami Warning Center.

Center director Paul Witmore says the name change better reflects what the center monitors.

“For the past 7 years, the center has been responsible for the east coast, the Gulf coast, eastern Canada, Puerto Rico  and the Virgin islands as well as the west coast of the United States and Alaska. So it’s a much better representation of the area we’re responsible for,” he said.

Witmore says the current name has been in place for 17 years and caused confusion for east coast residents who assumed tsunami warnings issued from the Palmer facility didn’t include them. He says he’s hopeful the new name will catch on and provide clarity.

“Our messages are very clear as to what people are impacted by the message, so we expect it will be ok.”

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