Second Tsunami Warning in New Zealand Issued After 8.0 Earthquake Hits Island

A new tsunami warning has been issued after a third earthquake with a magnitude of 8.0 hit New Zealand's Kermadec Islands region Friday, shortly after the first advisory had officially been cancelled.

The second warning is being issued for those near cost from the Bay of Islands to Whangarei, from Matata to Tolaga Bay, and Great Barrier Island. Those in the areas under threat are being told to move immediately to the high ground or as far inland as possible.

An earlier advisory was first announced after an earthquake with a magnitude of 7.3 was felt northeast coast of New Zealand early Friday morning, local time. A second earthquake with a magnitude of 7.4 hit the Kermadec Islands but no tsunami warning was issued.

The Pacifistic Tsunami Warning Center had warned that waves from the first potential tsunami were possibly within 300 km of the epicenter along the coast of New Zealand. There was no threat to nearby territories, including Australia, Thailand and the Philippines.

Government officials said the first waves may have reached the areas around East Cape at approximately 3:34 a.m., but "based on GNS Science's modelling and ocean observations on tide gauges and the New Zealand DART Buoys, our science advice is that the threat of strong and unusual currents has now passed for all parts of New Zealand including the Chatham Islands."

A tsunami warning has been issued for American Samoa and a tsunami watch has been issued for the Hawaiian Islands, according to the U.S.G.S. Thursday.

New Zealand Tsunami Forecast
This map shows the areas of New Zealand that can expect strong currents and surges as a result of Thursday morning's 7.3 magnitude earthquake. Twitter: @NZcivil defence/New Zealand Emergency Management Agency

People located in threatened areas are being told to stay alert for new information from national and local authorities, as government agencies begin evaluating populations at risk. In costal areas, individuals are advised to stay out of the water and off beaches and shore areas.

Officials warn that the time between waves cresting can vary anywhere from five minutes to an hour, meaning the threat could persist long after the first wave.

"If a tsunami has been generated, the first wave may not be the most significant," the New Zealand Emergency Management Agency stated. "Tsunami activity will continue for several hours and the threat is real until this warning is cancelled."

"Strong and unusual currents and unpredictable surges near the shore are expected in other coastal areas."

"Strong currents and surges can injure and drown people. There is a danger to swimmers, surfers, people fishing, small boats and anyone in or near the water close to shore," the agency added.

Government officials said the evacuation order is overriding all current COVID-19 Alert Level requirements.

The estimated locations affected by the first potential tsunami waves had included the east coast of the North Island from Port Charles to Mahia, Great Barrier Island and Chatham Islands.

Updated 2:54 p.m. ET, with further information.