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Tsunami warning cancelled for New Zealand and Lord Howe Island after South Pacific earthquake | World news

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A tsunami warning for New Zealand and Australia’s Lord Howe Island, sparked by a 7.7 magnitude undersea earthquake near New Caledonia, has been cancelled.

The earthquake caused small tsunami waves to hit Norfolk Island and briefly prompted marine warnings for Lord Howe Island, 700km off the coast of New South Wales.

The earthquake occurred off the coast of New Caledonia, sending ripples throughout the Tasman sea. Warnings were quickly issued by the Joint Australian Tsunami Warning Centre for Lord Howe Island, urging residents to stay clear of the beaches.

“For the marine environment of Lord Howe Island there is the possibility of dangerous rips, waves and strong ocean currents, and some localised overflow to the immediate foreshore commencing after 2:45 am (local time) Thursday and persisting for several hours,” read the warning.

No evacuations were necessary, and just after 7am the warning was cancelled, with all main tsunami waves passing the island without significant impact. Although the bureau said rough and unusual conditions may continue for some time.

Bureau of Meteorology, Australia
(@BOM_au)

The main tsunami waves have now passed all expected Lord Howe Island locations. Small unusual waves may continue, but Tsunami Warnings for Lord Howe Island have been cancelled. NSW State Emergency Service will advise the All Clear when safe to return to coastal areas.


February 10, 2021


Matilda Boseley
(@MatildaBoseley)

#BREAKING Good news for Lord Howe Island, the Tsunami threat has now been cancelled. @GuardianAus pic.twitter.com/VPHHKD32yy


February 10, 2021

Around 2am the Bureau of Meteorology confirmed that Norfolk Island was hit by the tsunami, with unusual and rough waves hitting beaches for several hours. These do not appear to have done significant damage.

The Australian mainland was not threatened.

Bureau of Meteorology, Australia
(@BOM_au)

TSUNAMI CONFIRMED. Observation – Norfolk Is at 2:15am AEDT. MARINE THREAT warning for LORD HOWE ISLAND. Issued by JATWC 3:01 AM AEDT Thu 11 Feb 2021. Tsunami affecting marine area commencing after 2:45 am AEDT Thu, persisting for several hours Warnings at: https://t.co/cuhd1HTN87 pic.twitter.com/KtL1fMMoyh


February 10, 2021

The threat has also passed for New Zealand, which had warned people to get out of the water, off beaches and away from harbours, rivers and estuaries in areas from Ahipara to Bay of Islands, Great Barrier Island and from Matata to Tolaga Bay.

“We expect New Zealand coastal areas to experience strong and unusual currents and unpredictable surges at the shore,” the New Zealand National Emergency Management Agency said in a statement.

“Strong currents and surges can injure and drown people. There is a danger to swimmers, surfers, people fishing, small boats and anyone in or near the water close to shore.”

New Zealand authorities had also urged residents along its northern coast to avoid beaches and shore areas.

The European Mediterranean Seismological Centre (EMSC) said the earthquake’s epicentre was 417km (258 miles) east of Tadine, New Caledonia, and at a depth of 10km (6.2 miles).

The quake, whose strength was upgraded from an earlier magnitude of 7.2, followed at least three other tremors in the region, with magnitudes ranging from 5.7 to 6.1 in a span of just over an hour.

The US Tsunami Warning System said a tsunami watch was in effect for American Samoa and cited a potential for tsunamis in other regions including Vanuatu, Fiji and New Zealand.

Waves reaching up to a level of 1 metre (3.3ft) above the normal tide level were possible for some coastal areas of Vanuatu, Fiji and New Zealand, it added.

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