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Tsunami warning

Written By: - Date published: 8:57 am, February 28th, 2010 - 16 comments
Categories: notices - Tags:

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 — 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 — 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. …

It’s worth noting at this time that we here in NZ are well due for a big quake ourselves. It’s not a question of “if”, but of “when”. How quake-proof is your home or place of work?

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…”

16 comments on “Tsunami warning ”

  1. NickS 1

    I doubt the sea-bed displacement was enough to be a serious threat in NZ, though the structure of some bays and coves looking at the piece on TVNZ is predicted to amplify the wave, turning a 1m wave into a 3m wave:

    Just stick to the sea dunes unless it’s low tide and stay the frak out of east facing bays.

  2. swtchbckr 2

    Hopefully Michael Laws will get down onto the beach for this one…

    [not in good taste, even in jest — r0b]

    • Whanganui’s on the west coast, so probably won’t be affected. The beach suburb, Castlecliff, is a working class area, so he wouldn’t go there anyway. Much happier hanging with the richies up on Snob’s Rock.

  3. swtchbckr 3

    best site is http://www.geonet.org.nz/tsunami/ with the guages showing the heights of the waves.

  4. prism 4

    Listening to the radio info – they say if we use the word surges rather than waves it gives better idea.
    Recently on Nat Radio someone was talking about geology and earthquakes and saying we are right on the timeline for one here in NZ. Can’t happen yet though, I’m not ready. Am thinking of putting curtain wire round the glass jars in the pantry. Something practical would be good first step. Then you have food after not sticky messes with jagged glass splinters. Also spare tins of stuff of course.

  5. It’s hard not to feel a bit “boy who cried wolf” about this. How many tsunami warnings have we had that turned out to be nothing?

    I know it’s better to over-react than under-react….. just, you know.

    • Bill 5.1

      Kind of reminds me when as a kid we’d adventure up to the (insert building) in the dark where the headless woman in white was said to wander. And we’d have great fun hyping ourselves up and imagining that every little ‘nothing’ on the periphery of our senses was her….or her dog. Maybe it was her cat. It was all a long time ago. In other words we all knew there was nothing to be had and so strained to bring our imaginings into being…just to add a wee bit of spice to a dreary winters evening.

      Meanwhile we have Plunket introducing us to ‘The Tsunami Special’ on RNZ. Perish the thought that he was trying to sexy things up…

      So there might be 1 meter surges on some beaches. Do people know what that means? I don’t think that too many people do. And that’s where I get really pissed off with media that salivates over possibility of ‘the money shot’ as it were and utterly fails to inform in any intelligent fashion.

      Do I really give a monkey’s that some reporter is watching the water in Akaroa or where ever and trying to mask their disappointment that something really spectacular isn’t happening? No.

      What would have been wrong with running normal programming and simply making sure that precise information was given in all news reports across all radio stations and TV stations when their normal news slots would have played? Or even extending the news slots to disseminate additional topical scientific and educational information?

      There is a lead time of hours and hours. It’s not as though some potential disaster is minutes away and we have to run, self evacuating (that particular piece of RNZ terminology did bring some amusing images to mind)..for the bunkers or whatever.

      If you are not listening to the radio then it doesn’t matter how much the radio bangs on and if you are then there is no need for the radio to bang on.

      Like I said, kind of reminds me of when I was a kid and we were simply desperate for something to happen.

      • prism 5.1.1

        Yes I didn’t hear a mention about the power of the surges being more than a wave of that height. I understand that if you are standing in the water at just knee height say, a 30cm surge could knock you over. I think they fool us and we behave as in normal waves but they aren’t. If it was mentioned it was probably crowded out by all the reporting.

        The last time that there was a similar scare I couldn’t find any information about it on the local Council website and though the crisis body will give red alerts, I wanted up to date information and forecasts of possibilities so I could get prepared or not worry whichever. I told Council that I didn’t think their response was quick enough and that they shouldn’t leave everything to the civil defence, so hope they do improve. Local bodies should be keeping residents informed about any possible dangers or problems.

  6. Tear-along-dotted-line 6

    I usually self evacuate a couple of times a day. Doing so is good for the health regardless of earthquakes, tidal conditions or ocean surges.

  7. Zaphod Beeblebrox 7

    Isn’t it possible to get more accurate information about what is coming. The media seem to give us information on everything except what is actually happening. After all the energy wave has to traverse the whole Pacific Ocean before it gets here. Can’t you drop bouys into ocean or sometime? If Google earth can photograph every cm of the planet surely we can develop some sort of model to measure water movements before to hit the beach.

    • No. It currently (sic) isn’t possible to be that accurate. What’s sloshing about the Pacific isn’t so much water as energy. How that energy will affect the water at a local level depends on a number of factors including tidal states and local geography, and possibilities such as that in ten hours or so a wave of energy bouncing off Japan might arrive at New Zealand at the same time an echo off the Antarctic shelf, reinforcing it into a major surge.

  8. coolas 8

    It’s lowtide & I’m sitting on my balcony (HB coast) watching the sea retreat more than I’ve ever seen before in 20 years of living here, then gradually swoosh back in. No danger. And the oyster catchers are rushing out with the tide to grab pipis screaming their heads off with excitement. Very entertaining.

  9. vto 9

    Left pre-dawn for a sunrise surf at one of the south islands most exposed east coast beaches. Totally oblivious to the warning.

    Surf not much good so, given it was super low tide, we went for a paua hunt below some 150m vertical cliffs where you cannot even get to on a high tide. Got one paua then got a bit wet due to weird small lift in what we thought was the tide.

    Mozeyed on back enyoying a pleasant morning. Got back in cellphone range and heard the news, which explained all the people on the hill.

    We were in probably the worst place on the entire east coast at exactly the time of predicted impact. Now having a beer in celebration.

    That’s the second time. Last September’s tsunami warning for the west coast of south island saw me totally exposed again at a wee whitebait creek with no hills for miles. At time of expected arrival.

    Let’s hope there is no third time. Else you folk may not receive anymore wise and foolish political thoughts from our little corner of the world …


  10. BLiP 10

    I’ve just got back from the beach – place was packed, water was fine, so much for the tidal wave.

  11. Mach1 11

    Living at the ‘knobs end’ of Castlecliff here in Whanganui, 11 metres above sea level, so I had a lovely morning watching idiots flock to the beach. A slight disturbance at about 11am and that was that.

  12. Draco T Bastard 12

    I looked at the location last night when I heard about the quake. Realised that it was on the far side of the Pacific and decided that it wasn’t anything to worry about. Checked the news and learned that the tsunami warning had been cancelled already.

    This morning I get up to find that it’s back in place. I was not surprised when a whole lot of nothing happened. It was a big quake but it was 9000km away and all the force that was released would have dissipated through the entire Pacific.

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