General Outline

For the CARIBE WAVE 2017 Exercise, three scenarios have been proposed for the participants: the Costa Rica Scenario, Cuba Scenario and Northeastern Antilles Scenario.  In the first scenario the tsunami is generated by an earthquake on the east coast of Panamá/Costa Rica, in the second scenario the tsunami is generated by and earthquake in south of Santiago de Cuba and the third scenario is a tsunami generated by an earthquake East of Antigua. The participants may choose the scenario they want to participate according to the needs of their region or agency. The Puerto Rico and the (U.S. and British) Virgin Islands will use the Northeast Antilles Scenario as agreed with the PRSN.  The participant guides (official manual and PRSN Guidebook) are the basic tools for participation in the CARIBE WAVE 2017 Exercise.

For this CARIBE WAVE 2017 exercise, the scenario is based on earthquakes and tsunamis that occurred on the coast of the Lesser Antilles in 1843.  This earthquake had estimated magnitudes between M 7.0 and M 8.7 and produced a tsunami with height of 1.2 m (3.9 ft) in Antigua.  For Puerto Rico and Virgin Islands an earthquake with epicenter at the East of Antigua is considered a regional earthquake. The earthquake scenario used for Puerto Rico and Virgin Islands, based on this exercise, is as follows:

Origin Time14:00:00 UTC March 17, 2016
Latitude16.96º N
Longitude66.69º W
Magnitude8.5 – Mw
Slip10 m
Shear Modulus50 GPa
Seismic Moment7.16143E+21 N.m
Segment I
Point A
           Latitude107.52° N
           Longitude61.37° W
           Depth62 km
Point B
           Latitude17.52° N
           Longitude61.37° W
           Depth62 km
Corner Point C
           Latitude16.4° N
           Longitude60° W
           Depth15 km
Corner Point D60 km
           Latitude16.11° N
           Longitude60.23° W
           Depth62 km
Length220 km
Width65 km
Width Map View46 km

The tsunami models were computed using the Rapid Inundation Forecasting of Tsunamis (RIFT) model to generate expected impacts throughout the region.  The models indicate that a several meters high tsunami will occur affecting both Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands.

In a real situation, for an event like this one, a warning/advisory/watch of a tsunami, may last many more hours than is proposed in this exercise.  This exercise has been adapted to be concluded in a compressed time.

Earthquake Scenario


Origin Time: 14:00 UTC, March 21, 2017(10:00 AM Puerto Rico Local Time)

Hypocenter: Latitude: 16.96°N and Longitude: 60.69°W

Depth: 40 km

Magnitude: 8.5 Mw

Location: East of Antigua

The Shake Map for the Northeastern Antilles Scenario and the Prompt Assessment of Global Earthquakes for Response (PAGER) of the US Geological Survey are available in the IOC Participant Handbook.

The Puerto Rico and the (U.S. and British) Virgin Islands participants will use the Northeastern Antilles Scenario as agreed with the PRSN and should refer to the CARIBE WAVE 2017 PRSN Response Guidebook for the Puerto Rico and Virgin Islands Region.

CARIBE WAVE helps prove that the evacuation plan for a tsunami in your town is a viable one and covers all the necessities during and after an emergency.

The TsunamiReady program was created by the NWS-NOAA to help communities be better prepared to save lives and reduce the damage caused by the occurrence of a tsunami.

Tsunami Scenario

Tsunami generated by a great earthquake of magnitude 8.5 Mw with epicenter in the east of Antigua (latitude 16.96° N and longitude 60.96 ° W), at 10:00 am (Puerto Rico Local Time) on March 21, 2017.

Participants of Puerto Rico, US Virgin Islands and British Virgin Islands should refer to the information on this webpage based on the PTWC domestic products and the CARIBE WAVE 2017 PRSN Response Guidebook for the Puerto Rico and Virgin Islands Region.  The initial alert is disseminated at 10:06 AM (local time in Puerto Rico) as indicated in Table 1, Exercise Time Table for Puerto Rico and Virgin Islands for the Northeastern Antilles Scenario.

The initial dummy messages will be disseminated over all their standard broadcast channels.  The dummy messages are issued to test communications with Tsunami Warning Focal Points and National Tsunami Warning Centers, and to start the CARIBE WAVE 2017 exercise.  All messages will be sent to the recipients on the special email list used to transmit real messages in real time.

The Participant Official Handbook prepared by the IOC (ICG/CARIBE-EWS) contains the information for international participants of all Caribbean countries.  These products are: information of the earthquake and tsunami scenarios, time tables and international products issued by the PTWC for this exercise.

Exercise Time Table

Northeastern Antilles Scenario

Tsunami generated by a magnitude 8.5 earthquake with epicenter at 16.96 ºN, 60.69ºW occurring on March 21, 2017 at 1400 UTC. The Dummy Message is disseminated at 14:00 UTC and the initial bulletin with tsunami message is disseminated at 14:06 UTC, as established in the PTWC Domestic Products for the exercise.

Date (UTC)Time (UTC)Local Time
PTWC Message
03/21/201714:0010:00 am
Earthquake Occurs
03/21/201714:0610:06 am01WarningYesYes
03/21/201714:2610:26 am02WarningNoYes
03/21/201714:5610:56 am03WarningNoYes
03/21/201715:2611:26 am04WarningNoYes
03/21/201715:5611:56 am05WarningNoYes
03/21/201716:2612:26 pm06WarningNoYes
03/21/201716:5612:56 pm07WarningNoYes
03/21/201717:261:26 pm08WarningNoYes
03/21/201717:561:56 pm09WarningNoYes
03/21/201718:262:26 pm10AdvisoryNoYes
03/21/201718:562:56 pm11AdvisoryNoYes
03/21/201719:263:26 pm12AdvisoryNoYes
03/21/201719:563:56 pm13AdvisoryNoYes
03/21/201720:264:26 pm14AdvisoryNoYes
03/21/201720:564:56 pm15AdvisoryNoYes
03/21/201721:265:26 pm16CancelationNoYes

Exercise Purpose

The purpose of the exercise is to improve Tsunami Warning System effectiveness along the coasts of the Caribbean and Adjacent Regions. The exercise provides an opportunity for the corresponding emergency management organizations exercise their operational lines of communications, review their tsunami response procedures, and promote tsunami preparedness. Regular exercising of response plans is critical to maintain readiness for an emergency. This is particularly true for the Caribbean and Adjacent regions, where tsunamis are infrequent but can be of very high impact. All emergency management organization (EMO) are encouraged to participate and include the communities at risk.

Exercise Objectives

Each organization can develop its objectives for the exercise depending on its level of involvement in the scenario. The following are the exercise’s overarching objectives.

  • To exercise and evaluate operations of the CARIBE EWS Tsunami Warning System.
  1.  Validate the issuance of tsunami products from the PTWC
  2.  Validate the receipt of tsunami products by CARIBE EWS Tsunami Warning Focal Points (TWFPs) and/or National Tsunami Warning Centers NTWCs)
  • To evaluate the use of PTWC CARIBE EWS products.
  •  To validate the readiness to respond to a tsunami.
  1.  Validate the operational readiness of the TWFPs/ NTWCs and/or the National Disaster Management Office (NDMO).
  2. To improve operational readiness. Before the exercise, ensure appropriate tools and response plan(s) have been developed, including public education materials.
  3. Validate that the dissemination of warnings and information/advice by TWFPs, and NTWCs, to relevant in-country agencies and the public is accurate and timely.
  4. Validate the organizational decision-making process (tsunami response plans) about public warnings and evacuations.
  5. Validate that the methods used to notify and instruct the public are accurate and timely.
  6. Evaluate the status of the implementation of the TsunamiReady recognition program.

Types of Exercises

The exercise should be carried out such that communications and decision making at various organizational levels are exercised and conducted without alarming the general public. Offices of Emergency Management (OEM) are, however, encouraged to exercise down to the level of testing local notification systems such as the Emergency Alert System (EAS), sirens, or loudspeakers.

Exercises stimulate the development, training, testing, and evaluation of Disaster Plans and Standard Operating Procedures (SOP). Most countries in the region have participated in SOP workshops in 2013 and 2014, and should use the materials and expertise acquired to help guide exercise preparation and conduct. Annex A gives an overview of SOP. Exercise participants may as well use their own past multi-hazard drills (e.g. flood, hurricane, tsunami, earthquake, etc.) as a framework to conduct CARIBEWAVE 16.

Exercises can be conducted at various scales of magnitude and sophistication. The following are examples of types of exercises conducted by EMOs:

  1. Orientation Exercise (Seminar):

An Orientation Exercise lays the groundwork for a comprehensive exercise program. It is a planned event, developed to bring together individuals and officials with a role or interest in multi-hazard response planning, problem solving, development of standard operational procedures (SOPs), and resource integration and coordination. An Orientation Exercise will have a specific goal and written objectives and result in an agreed upon Plan of Action.

  1. Drill:

The Drill is a planned activity that tests, develops, and/or maintains skills in a single or limited emergency response procedure. Drills generally involve operational response of single departments or agencies. Drills can involve internal notifications and/or field activities.

  1. Tabletop Exercise:

The Tabletop Exercise is a planned activity in which local officials, key staff, and organizations with disaster management responsibilities are presented with simulated emergency situations. It is usually informal, in a conference room environment, and is designed to elicit constructive discussion from the participants. Participants will examine and attempt to resolve problems, based on plans and procedures, if they exist. Individuals are encouraged to discuss decisions in depth with emphasis on slow-paced problem solving, rather than rapid, real time decision-making. A Tabletop Exercise should have specific goals, objectives, and a scenario narrative (see Appendix B for a Sample Tabletop Exercise Outline).

  1. Functional Exercise:

A Functional Exercise is a planned activity designed to test and evaluate organizational capacities. It is also utilized to evaluate the capability of a community’s emergency management system by testing the Emergency Operations Plan (EOP). It is based on a simulation of a realistic emergency situation that includes a description of the situation (narrative) with communications between players and simulators. The Functional Exercise gives the players (decision-makers) a fully simulated experience of being in a major disaster event. It should take place at the appropriate coordination location (i.e. emergency operations center, emergency command center, command post, master control center, etc.) and involve all the appropriate members designated by the plan. Both internal and external agencies (government, private sector, and volunteer agencies) should be involved. It requires players, controllers, simulators, and evaluators. Message traffic will be simulated and inserted by the control team for player response/actions, under real time constraints. It may or may not include public evacuations. A Functional Exercise should have specific goals, objectives, and a scenario narrative.

  1. Full-scale Exercise:

A Full-scale Exercise is the culmination of a progressive exercise program that has grown with the capacity of the community to conduct exercises. A Full-Scale exercise is a planned activity in a “challenging” environment that encompasses a majority of the emergency management functions. This type of exercise involves the actual mobilization and deployment of the appropriate personnel and resources needed to demonstrate operational capabilities. EOCs and other command centers are required to be activated. A Full-scale Exercise is the largest, costliest, and most complex exercise type. It may or may not include public evacuations.

Evacuation drill of a school in Aguadilla, Puerto Rico.

Download the Participants Manual by clicking on the image.

Participants Manual

For the CARIBEWAVE 2016 exercise there are two scenarios proposed for the participants: the South Caribbean Scenario and the North of la Española Scenario. In the first scenario the tsunami is generated by an earthquake at the north of Venezuela, while the second scenario the tsunami is generated by an earthquake at the north of La Española. The participants can choose in which scenario they want to participate according to the needs of their region or agency. The participants of the Puerto Rico and Virgin Islands region (Puerto Rico, United States Virgin Islands and British Virgin Islands) will use the South Caribbean Scenario as agreed with the RSPR. The participants manual are base tools for the participation in the CARIBEWAVE 2016 exercise.

International participants:

The Official Participants Manual for the Exercise prepared by the IOC (ICG/CARIBE-EWS) contains the scenarios with the information of earthquakes and tsunamis, the chronologic tables and the international messages emitted by the PTWC for the exercise.

  • Participant Handbook, EXERCISE CARIBE WAVE 17 A Caribbean and Adjacent Regions Tsunami Warning Exercise 21 March 2017 (Costa Rica, Cuba and Northeastern Antilles Scenarios)

Puerto Rico and Virgin Island Participants:

The Response Guide of the RSPR for the Puerto Rico and Virgin Islands Region contains all the messages for the Local Puerto Rico and Virgin Islands Region emitted by the RSPR based on the domestic products emmited by the PTWC for our region (Puerto Rico, United States Virgin Island and British Virgin Islands).

  • Guía de Respuesta de la Red Sísmica de Puerto Rico para la Región de Puerto Rico e Islas Vírgenes EJERCICIO CARIBEWAVE 2017


Presentaciones CTWP


The PRSN Presentations will be added soon.


First Series of Webinars

English – January 17, 2017 Presentation

Español – January 18, 2017 Presentation

Français – January 19, 2017 Presentation

Second Series of Webinars

English – March 7, 2017 Presentation

Español – March 8, 2017 Presentation

Français – March 9, 2017 Presentation

You can download the presentation by clicking on the photo or you can watch the recording of the webinar by clicking on the following link: Webinar Video 1.

Download the Levels of Messaging for Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands Poster by clicking on the image.

Tsunami Alerts

The Tsunami Level Alerts for Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands were developed by the NTWC and is focused on informing the risk level of a tsunami happening, in this case, in Puerto Rico and/or the Virgin Islands.

The alert levels are divided into 4 color coded categories, each respective to it’s own category.

  • Warning – Red
  • Advisory – Orange
  • Watch – Yellow
  • Information Statement – Green


Red Alert


Run for high ground!

Follow emergency instructions.


Orange Alert

Possible strong and dangerous local currents.

Stay tuned for local emergency guidance.


Yellow Alert

Potential danger.

Stayed tuned for more information.

Information Statement

Green Alert

No Warning, Advisory or Watch issued.

A distant ocean basin may be in danger.


Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission. 2017. Exercise CARIBE WAVE 17. A Caribbean and Adjacent Regions Tsunami Warning Exercise, 21 March 2017 (Costa Rica, Cuba and Northeastern Antilles Scenarios). Volume 1: Participant Handbook. IOC Technical Series No. 133 Vol.1. Paris; UNESCO. (English only)