Tsunami warnings have been issued for Australia’s Lord Howe Island and South Pacific countries after a 7.7-magnitude earthquake southeast of the Loyalty Islands in the French territory of New Caledonia.
Key points: BOM warns of potential for rips, waves and strong ocean currents for Lord Howe Island Tsunami warnings issued for Vanuatu, Fiji and New Caledonia BOM says there is no threat to mainland Australia
The Pacific Tsunami Warning Center (PTWC) said potential tsunami threats were issued for Vanuatu, Fiji and New Caledonia.
The Bureau of Meteorology (BOM) issued a warning of a marine threat for Lord Howe Island, off the east coast of Australia, following the earthquake on Friday afternoon.
“So far, a tsunami of 22 centimeters has been seen near New Caledonia,” the operations office said in the warning notice Friday afternoon.
The BOM warned of the possibility of cracks, waves and strong sea currents, as well as some localized flooding on the immediate foreshore of the island.
It said evacuations were not necessary, but people in Lord Howe Island’s marine environment were advised to get out of the water and stay away from the immediate water’s edge.
BOM said there is no threat to mainland Australia.
New Caledonia lifted its tsunami warning later on Friday afternoon.
New Zealand also issued a National Advisory Notice in the aftermath of the earthquake.
New Zealand’s National Emergency Management Agency said: “We expect New Zealand coastal areas to experience unusually strong currents and unexpected shore surges.”
It added that a large part of the coast of the North Island and the western coast of the South Island are at risk.
People at or near the sea [those] The agency said areas should move out of the water, away from beaches and beach areas, and away from ports, marinas, rivers and estuaries.
“Strong currents and high seas can injure and drown people. There is a danger to swimmers, surfers, fishermen and anyone in or near the water.”
The US Geological Survey (USGS) said the quake occurred at a depth of about 38 kilometers.
Vanuatu is asking people to stay away from the coast
The director of the Vanuatu Department of Geographic Hazards, John Niroa, said authorities were still monitoring the situation, but a tsunami warning had been issued for the entire country.
The tsunami siren has not yet been activated on the beaches of Vanuatu (Supplied: William Dyer)
“The warning only informs people of the danger of a tsunami and tells people to stay away from coastal areas,” he said.
“We are communicating with our contacts in the southern province, but they have not yet received any kind of tsunami,” he added.
A Vanuatu Tsunami Warning said the quake could trigger “destructive tsunamis of 0.3 to 1 metre”, which could hit some coastlines in Vanuatu.
But Nirua said tsunami sirens had not yet been activated on Vanuatu’s beaches to warn communities of a threat, and it was not clear how likely the waves would reach the country.
“[Tsunami sirens] It has not been used because we are still monitoring the event.”
“If by any chance there is an event we will go ahead and run it.”
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