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Is a tsunami possible in the Gulf? Yes, but a 'fairly distant' threat compared to hurricanes

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Courtesy of Melissa Legnon Cantrelle Courtesy of Melissa Legnon Cantrelle

On Tuesday morning, some residents from the East Coast down through the Caribbean, including folks along the Gulf Coast, received a push alert on their cellphones about a tsunami warning — an alert sent in error. 

The National Weather Service sent out what they called a "routine tsunami test" about 9 a.m. The alert was incorrectly picked up by a computer algorithm for private company AccuWeather and pushed out as an actual tsunami warning, the company said.

But the inaccurate warning had some wondering if conditions in the Gulf Coast — the home of some of the world's most powerful and destructive hurricanes — could also generate a tsunami? Turns out, yes. 

But don't be too alarmed yet. 

"(Tsunamis) are going to be secondary to the hurricane, and it's a fairly distant second in my opinion," said Patrick Lynett, a coastal engineer and professor of civil engineering at the University of Southern California. 

Lynett was part of a team in 2009 that studied the chance that tsunamis could form in the Gulf of Mexico, and while they found there are properties that make it a possibility, he said they have not ever known it to happen.

Read the full story at The Advocate.

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