A tsunami capable of destruction in a particular geographic region, generally within 1,000 km or 1-3 hours tsunami travel time from its source. Regional tsunamis also occasionally have very limited and localized effects outside the region.

Most destructive tsunami can be classified as local or regional. It follows many tsunami related casualties and considerable property damage also comes from these tsunamis. Between 1975 and mid-2012 there were 39 local or regional tsunamis that resulted in 260,000 deaths and billions of dollars in property damage; 26 of these were in the Pacific and adjacent seas. For example, in the Pacific, a regional tsunami in 1983 in the Sea of Japan or East Sea severely damaged coastal areas of Japan, Korea, and Russia causing more than $800 million in damage, and more than 100 deaths. Then, after nine years with only one event causing one fatality, 10 locally destructive tsunamis occurred in just a seven-year period from 1992 to 1998, resulting in over 2,700 deaths and hundreds of millions of dollars in property damage. In most of these cases, tsunami mitigation efforts in place at the time were unable to prevent significant damage and loss of life. However, losses from future local or regional tsunamis can be reduced if a denser network of warning centres, seismic and water-level reporting stations, and better communications are established to provide a timely warning, and if better programmes of tsunami preparedness and education can be put in place.