Tsunami warning issued for Hawaii after the 8.1 magnitude earthquake in New Zealand

Tsunami warning issued for Hawaii after 8.1 magnitude earthquake hits New Zealand

Updated: The Pacific Tsunami Warning Center has canceled a tsunami watch for Hawaii and an advisory for American Samoa, both issued after a third major earthquake struck off northern New Zealand.

Hawaii and American Samoa are no longer under threat from a possible tsunami. But New Zealand does still have a warning and expecting 1-3 meter tsunami.

Earlier, a tsunami warning was issued for Hawaii and surrounding areas Thursday in the hours following an 8.1 magnitude earthquake off the north-eastern coast of New Zealand.

The watch from the National Weather Service’s Tsunami Warning System was ordered for Hawaii at 12:24 p.m. PT, or 3:24 p.m. ET. 

The alert said that the waves could hit Hawaii later in the afternoon, adding that the weather center was continuing to investigate the potential tsunami threat.

The Alert Center is also reviewing data to determine whether there is a threat to California, Oregon, Washington, Alaska and British Columbia.

A tsunami advisory was also issued to the U.S. Samoa, with the weather center writing in its alert, “Based on all available data, there is a threat to the U.S. Samoa of sea level fluctuations and strong ocean currents that could pose a risk along beaches, in ports, and in coastal waters.”

While the Alert Center initially issued a “possible tsunami threat” to Guam, a later alert indicated that despite potential minor sea fluctuations, there was no immediate threat to the U.S. island territory.

The 8.1 magnitude earthquake was preceded by a 7.3 magnitude one off New Zealand’s coast in the same area early Friday local time. 

Following the initial earthquake, a tsunami warning was issued to New Zealand coastal areas, and the country’s National Emergency Management Agency issued additional warnings later that day following the second, more powerful earthquake.

The U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) said Thursday that the two earthquakes, which occurred just two hours apart, were probably connected.

“Both of those occurred on the subduction interface between Pacific and Australia plates,” USGS said, according to Hawaii News Now.

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