The Kermadec Islands are located 500-620 miles northeast of New Zealand’s North Island. The east coast of the North Island from Bay of Islands to Whangarei, from Matata to Tulaga Bay including Wakatane, Oboteki and Great Barrier Island are all included in the state’s tsunami warning.
“People may not feel the earthquake in some of these areas, but evacuation must be immediate because a devastating tsunami is possible,” the statement said, adding that the evacuation notice exceeds Covid-19 warnings.
“People in all other areas who have experienced a long or strong earthquake that makes it difficult to stand, or that has lasted for more than a minute, should immediately move to the nearest elevated area, or outside all tsunami evacuation areas, or as far inland as possible.”
When the first warnings of earthquakes came in New Zealand, Baker wasn’t too concerned, she writes for CNN. Then the first Kermadec earthquake struck without warning.
“An hour later, the tsunami sirens sounded and I went for a split second in a state of panic,” Baker added. “Just hearing that sound made me feel a little anxious.”
Baker’s home is located 10 meters from the water’s edge. “The next thing my husband called me from his work in the city and told me to get out ASAP and go to higher ground, because this was not training and they were leaving the hotel (he works at a hotel right on the waterfront),” he wrote.
“So I grabbed the cat (hiding under the bed) and put it in its lamb cage literally with a handshake and grabbed my handbag and computer hard drive and got off the car and climbed up the local historic hill.”
The earthquake also triggered warnings in Hawaii and American Samoa, which were later canceled. The Australian Bureau of Meteorology has reported observations of a 64 cm (about 2 ft) long tsunami on remote Norfolk Island.
Thursday’s earthquake was the largest to strike anywhere in the world since August 2018, when an 8.2-magnitude earthquake struck a greater depth underground, also in the South Pacific, near Fiji.
Only one earthquake or less of magnitude 8.0 or more occurs every year.
This is a developing story. More is coming.
Contributing to CNN’s Christina Zhdanovic.