Those following the hysteria on Twitter just after the big Fiordland earthquake last week might have thought New Zealand had been decimated by a large earthquake and was about to be inundated by a tsunami.
The tsunami warnings came from an automated service at the Pacific Tsunami Warning Centre.
Kiwiblog outlines what the Ministry of Civil Defence and Emergency Management (MCDEM) does in the event of a warning
- No tsunami threat to NZ
- Potential tsunami threat to NZ
- Tsunami warning – threat to NZ
So unless the warning has come from MCDEM, it is just an automatically generated warning from PTWC. NZ gets around one of these a month, and none have ever eventuated in the last few decades.
However there may be times that a tsunami is generated locally. Or in other words it will hit within 30 to 60 minutes, not hours. If one is generated locally, then it may hit before an official warning is possible. These are the warning signs for people in coastal areas:
- experience a strong earthquake (it was hard to stand up)
- experience a weak earthquake lasting a minute or more
- observe strange sea behaviour, such as the sea level suddenly rising and falling
- hear the sea making loud and unusual noises or roaring like a jet engine
If you observe this, move inland and to higher ground promptly.