Powerful quake hits off north-east coast of New Zealand, sparking tsunami warning

Clay Curtis
March 4, 2021

A "tsunami warning" has been issued for New Zealand after a severe 7.3 magnitude natural disaster occurred in the South Pacific Ocean near East off the Coast of North Island.

'Hope everyone is ok out there - especially on the east coast who would have felt the full force of that quake, ' prime minister Jacinda Ardern posted on Instagram. Listen to local Civil Defence authorities and follow any instructions regarding evacuation of your area. "But we did still evacuate just in case", one man told 1 NEWS after the rumble.

Even though the quake struck in the middle of the night, people took to social media to report feeling it nearly from one end of the North Island to the other.

"I'm quite frightened, I've got no idea if there's going to be a tsunami".

Wairarapa MP Kieran McAnulty felt the quake as far south as Masterton, near the bottom of the North Island. The epicenter was located about 260 miles southeast of Auckland.

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The first waves were expected to lash the coast at 3.30am local time with a USA monitoring service predicting 3ft waves and local disaster officials warning of an hours-long threat of "unpredictable surges".

The Bureau of Meteorology said there was no tsunami threat to Australia.

New Zealand's seismological agency GeoNet described the natural disaster as "severe" and put the magnitude at 7.1, down from earlier estimates of 7.4 and 7.2.

Emergency officials warned that the tsunami's first wave might not be its largest and said the alert could last for hours.

More than 60,000 people reported feeling the quake on GeoNet's website, with 282 people describing the shaking as "severe" and 75 saying it was "extreme".

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