Don’t go to the beach.
There’s a Tsunami warning in progress for the whole coast. Listen to Radio NZ, or follow the updates on Newsroom. The first surges have now passed (9:50am). They were small, but larger surges are following, and are expected to continue over a period of several hours.
The quake (8.8) was off the coast of Chile. Chile has been badly hit of course. Initial reports:
Huge quake hits Chile; tsunami threatens Pacific
TALCA, Chile One of the strongest earthquakes ever recorded struck Chile on Saturday, toppling homes, collapsing bridges and plunging trucks into the fractured earth. A tsunami threatened every nation around the Pacific Ocean â€” roughly a quarter of the globe.
Chileans near the epicenter were tossed about by the magnitude-8.8 quake as if shaken by a giant. At least 147 people were killed, according to Carmen Fernandez, director of the National Emergency Agency.
The quake shook buildings in Argentina’s capital of Buenos Aires, and was felt as far away as Sao Paulo in Brazil â€” 1,800 miles (2,900 kilometers) to the east. About 13 million people live in the area where shaking was strong to severe, according to the U.S. Geological Survey. …
Update: The alert has now been downgraded to an advisory (4:30pm), though surges and rapid changes in sea level could still occur for the next 24 hours. According to Newsroom “A series of ongoing large offshore earthquakes continue to rock South America with widespread destruction in Chile…”