Beat the Wave Maps


When the next great Cascadia Subduction Zone earthquake and tsunami occur, coastal residents and visitors will have 10-30 minutes to reach safety. Evacuation on foot will be the only means possible. To be prepared, people will need answers to questions:

  • What are the most efficient roads and trails to take to reach safety?
  • How fast will people have to travel to beat the wave to safety?
  • Will the earthquake cause bridges to become impassable or activate a landslide that blocks an escape route?
  • If safe evacuation isn't feasible, what other preparations can be taken?

Cartoon showing a tsunami inundating the town of Seaside, Oregon. Beat the Wave modeling is used to evaluate the most efficient evacuation routes to safety, along with potential choke points.


To help answer these questions, DOGAMI is undertaking detailed evacuation modeling in order to determine the best routes to beat the wave.

Beat the Wave maps show areas of expected tsunami inundation, the most efficient routes to reach safety, and how fast one must travel to get there.


How are the maps developed?

The approach used is called path distance modeling, a Geographical Information System (GIS) tool that
identifies the most efficient routes to safety. The tool accounts for variations in topography (e.g. steep hills or flat ground) and land cover (e.g. paved road or loose beach sand), both of which can make travel on foot more difficult.

Path distance modeling also allows us to assess what-if scenarios, such as a collapsed bridge along an evacuation route. Likewise, modeling results can be used to plan for new infrastructure, like trails or vertical evacuation structures.


What do the maps look like?

The maps show the same green safety areas as on DOGAMI's tsunami inundation brochure maps, with the addition of arrows that indicate the most efficient routes. The quickest route may not be the obvious one, so it pays to study the map and practice your route. Colors on the maps show the speed that
must be maintained from the starting point until safety is reached. For example, in the map below, if you are located near a red path when the earthquake occurs, you must continue at a fast walk/slow jog pace all the way to safety in order to beat the wave..


Which communities have maps?

To date, we have completed Beat the Wave modeling for Reedsport and Florence, Rockaway Beach, Seaside, and Warrenton/Hammond. Additional areas where modeling is occurring include Waldport, Coos Bay/North Bend, Pacific City, Cape Meares, Oceanside/Netarts, Neskowin, and Newport/Southbeach.

Funding for this important work is made possible through grants from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) through the National Tsunami Hazard Mitigation Program, the Oregon Department of Land Conservation and Development (DLCD), and from NOAA’s Office of Coastal Management.


What other data products are available with the reports?

The reports include technical information about how the maps are made, GIS data, and some reports include alternate scenarios such as:


Are other organizations involved?

Yes! We work in close partnership with the Oregon Department of Land Conservation and Development (DLCD), whose goal is to develop and implement tsunami-resilient land use strategies. We also work closely with local city and county governments and other state and local organizations that are concerned with tsunami evacuation to ensure Beat the Wave maps accurately reflect their community.

Get Ready - Any Time of Year
  • Coastal Field Office
    313 SW 2nd St., Ste. D
    Newport, OR 97365 | map
    Phone: 541-574-6642
    email us at DOGAMI