Japan Earthquake – Waves reach New Zealand

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The first waves have arrived at North Cape following the 8.9 magnitude quake that struck Japan. The Threat Map is here .

Civil Defence says the first wave was recorded by a coastal gauge at 7:10am after a wave arrived at Raoul Island in the Kermadecs at 6:35am.

Initial waves are in the order of 15 centimetres. See local advice here .

David Coetzee of Civil Defence told ONE News: It’s rather insignificant though at this stage and will be barely visible to the naked eye.”

However he emphasised the first arrival is seldom the largest and Civil Defence modelling points to the most significant activity to be one to two hours onwards.

The first wave to arrive in New Zealand had been calculated to be in the area around North Cape at approximately 6:23am.

Waves of 20 centimetres were observed in Nauru around 4:30am.

The New Zealand Tsunami Expert Panel assessment is that the tsunami is a marine threat and a minor land threat in some areas. A marine threat means strong and unusual currents are possible in the sea, rivers and estuaries.

At 2am Civil Defence said that a minor land threat (1-3 metre wave heights) now exists in Northland between Ahipara and the Karikari Peninsula as well as in the Bay of Islands and the Chatham Islands. CD describes a minor land threat “a small potential for impacts on beaches in these areas”.

Earlier it has assessed the risk as marine only.

People have been warned to stay away from beaches, as the tsunami is expected to bring strong currents to the top of the North Island.

Damage to boats is possible and people are encouraged to secure them if possible.

CD says pre-calculated tsunami models indicate that the largest impact is expected along the coasts of the central and northern North Island, from East Cape northwards and from Kaipara northwards.

It said the wave is expected to coincide with a low tide, but waves may continue for several hours.

Coetzee said hourly advice was being received on the tsunami threat.

He said people should not “go sightseeing”. The advice to stay out of the water included estuaries.

The warning of a potential tsunami will remain in effect until it is upgraded to a national warning or cancelled by the Ministry of Civil Defence. The Pacific Tsunami Warning Centre lifted the tsunami warning it had issued earlier for New Zealand.

Tsunami Video

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