Video reportedly shows tsunami waves arriving in New Zealand

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People gather on high ground in Whangarei, New Zealand, as a tsunami warning is issued Friday, March 5, 2021. A powerful magnitude 8.1 earthquake struck in the ocean off the coast of New Zealand prompting thousands of people to evacuate and triggering tsunami warnings across the South Pacific. (Mike Dinsdale/New Zealand Herald via AP)

8:30 P.M. UPDATE:

TOKOMARU BAY, New Zealand (WJW) — Video shared on social media reportedly shows as waves from the first tsunami rolls into Tokomaru Bay.

According to the New Zealand Herald, the Waiapu Civil Defence posted the video online. It was reportedly taken by Claudia Maaka.

The video shows the waves hitting Tokomaru Bay around 11:30 a.m. local time.

8 P.M. UPDATE:

WELLINGTON, New Zealand (AP) — One of the biggest earthquakes to hit the South Pacific in modern history forced thousands of people in New Zealand to evacuate and triggered tsunami warnings across the world. But it didn’t appear to cause injuries or major damage Friday because it struck in remote ocean.

The magnitude 8.1 quake was the largest in a series of tremors that hit the region over several hours, including two earlier quakes that registered magnitude 7.4 and magnitude 7.3.

The earthquakes triggered warning systems and caused traffic jams and some chaos in New Zealand as people scrambled to get to higher ground. But their remoteness meant they didn’t appear to pose a widespread threat to lives or infrastructure.

A map of the first large earthquake that struck New Zealand with a magnitude of 7.3. (US Geological Survey)
5:30 P.M. UPDATE:

HONOLULU (WJW) — The Pacific Tsunami Warning Center has canceled the Tsunami Watch for the state of Hawaii, according to our sister station KHON-TV.

The watch was issued after a powerful magnitude 8.1 earthquake struck Friday in the ocean off New Zealand. The quake was the largest in a series of tremors that hit the region over several hours, including two earlier quakes that registered magnitude 7.4 and magnitude 7.3.

The center also canceled the tsunami advisory for American Samoa.

4:30 P.M. UPDATE:

HONOLULU (AP/WJW) — The Pacific Tsunami Warning Center said tsunamis may strike Hawaii after a huge earthquake occurred in a remote area between New Zealand and Tonga.

The magnitude 8 quake struck the Kermadec Islands region at 9:28 a.m. Hawaii time. If tsunamis are generated, the first waves would reach the Hawaiian Island chain at 4:35 p.m. Thursday Hawaii time.

The agency issued a tsunami warning for American Samoa but then downgraded it to an advisory.

The U.S. National Tsunami Warning Center is currently reviewing data from the quakes to determine if there is a threat of a tsunami in Alaska, British Columbia, Washington, Oregon, and California.

The agency says earthquakes with magnitudes the size of those that struck New Zealand are known to generate tsunamis potentially dangerous to coasts outside the source region.

4 P.M. UPDATE:

WELLINGTON, New Zealand (AP/WJW) — The National Weather Service has issued a tsunami advisory for several coastal areas after two earthquakes struck New Zealand on Thursday.

A powerful magnitude 8.1 earthquake struck in the ocean off the coast of New Zealand early Friday (New Zealand time), prompting some evacuations and tsunami warnings across the South Pacific.

It was the second large quake to strike within hours. An offshore magnitude 7.3 quake had awoken many people during the night throughout New Zealand. While both quakes triggered warning systems, neither of them appeared to pose a widespread threat to lives or major infrastructure.

The tsunami advisory is in effect for some areas in New Zealand, Japan, American Samoa and Alaska. Officials are currently investigating whether there is a tsunami threat to Hawaii.

The U.S. Tsunami Warning System also cautioned that the larger quake could cause tsunami waves of between 1 to 3 meters (3 to 10 feet) in French Polynesia and waves of up to 1 meter (3 feet) in Niue, New Caledonia and the Solomon Islands.

“Based on all available data a tsunami may have been generated by this earthquake that could be destructive on coastal areas even far from the epicenter,” the U.S. Pacific Tsunami Warning Center said Thursday.

Civil defense authorities in New Zealand told people in certain areas on the East Coast of the North Island on Friday morning that they should move immediately to higher ground and not stay in their homes. They said a damaging tsunami was possible.

The U.S. Tsunami Warning System also cautioned that the larger quake could cause tsunami waves of between 1 to 3 meters (3 to 10 feet) in French Polynesia and waves of up to 1 meter (3 feet) in Niue, New Caledonia and the Solomon Islands.

The U.S. Geological Survey said the larger quake was centered in the remote Kermadec Islands at a depth of 19 kilometers (12 miles).

Officials in New Zealand had hours earlier issued a tsunami warning for coastal areas after the smaller earthquake struck off its northeastern coast at about 3 a.m. Friday. There were no immediate reports of serious damage or casualties and the warning was later lifted just before the larger quake struck.

The U.S. Geological Survey said the earlier quake was centered at a depth of 21 kilometers (13 miles) under the ocean about 174 kilometers (108 miles) northeast of the city of Gisborne.

The earlier quake was more widely felt in New Zealand, and residents in the major cities of Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch reported being shaken awake.