3+ Things to Know About the Tsunami Threat to Florida

Florida faces a potential tsunami threat due to its coastal location; past tsunamis were caused by underwater disturbances but were not deadly compared to other regions.

flooded florida

If you live in Florida and are worried about it being it by a tsunami, I’m going to break all the facts for you in this piece. 

I’ve been studying extreme weather phenomena for years due to personal interest in the topic.

But tsunamis grab my attention more than any other events. I guess this is largely due to the fact they are the ultimate, deadly unknown of all the natural disasters man must face.

With most natural disasters, you know what to expect and how to prepare. Tornadoes and tsunamis, however, are utterly unpredictable, and that unpredictability can make them deadly.

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After reading this article, you’ll know when was Florida hit by a tsunami, what states are most likely to be hit by one, and the answer to “is a tsunami going to hit Florida?”. 

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When Was Florida Hit by a Tsunami?

The definition of a tsunami is “harbor wave.” Figuratively, a tsunami has come to mean any major wave caused by some disturbance on or under the water.

The disturbance can be an underwater earthquake, landslide, giant object crashing into the water, etc. The wave it produces is what is known as a tsunami.

Every body of water has produced tsunamis. The question is, how big of a wave? In most cases, the wave is not very big, and even when tsunami warnings are put out, most people barely notice, or do not notice, that a tsunami has hit them.

Florida is no exception. Because it sits nestled between two giant bodies of water, any major disruption in that water could cause a tsunami. The state of Florida has experienced several tsunamis caused by underwater disturbances, none of which, however, have been all that deadly.

None of them have come close to the devastation of the tsunami that hit Indonesia in 2004 or 2018. 

An earthquake in Portugal in 1755 caused a tsunami in Florida. How much it affected anything is not known because very few people lived there when it happened.

Another, caused by an earthquake in Charleston, SC, in 1886, pushed water up the Saint Johns River all the way to Jacksonville. That tsunami was not reported widely, and no deaths were recorded.

In the early 1990s, a tsunami hit Daytona Beach. The wave was 9 feet tall and is suspected of having been caused by a “long-water” wave created by a squall line. That wave damaged property and injured 75 people.

What States Are Most Likely To Be Hit by a Tsunami? 

Any location on a large body of water technically could experience a tsunami. That makes coastal cities and towns more likely to experience a tsunami than, say, a landlocked state in the middle of Iowa.

Of those states, the larger the state, the more likely it will experience a tsunami because of its increased miles of coastline.

More coast means states like California or Florida are more likely to have some part of the state affected by a tsunami than, say, Delaware.

Is a Tsunami Going To Hit Florida?

The chances of a tsunami hitting Florida are good. The chances of a tsunami anyone notices hitting Florida are low. The chances of a deadly tsunami hitting Florida, while not nonexistent, are extremely low.

Areas that experts keep an eye on include Haiti and Puerto Rico because of both places’ history of earthquakes and the Cumbre Vieja volcano in the Canary Islands.


The volcano is thought to be capable of creating a wave large enough to impact Florida and the east coast of the United States.

You should not, however, lose much sleep over the chances of Florida experiencing anything close to what Indonesia or Haiti have experienced over the last 20 years.

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