WELLINGTON, New Zealand (CBS SF/AP) — A tsunami watch issued for Hawaii has been canceled Thursday after a series of powerful earthquakes, including a magnitude 8.1, struck the Southwest Pacific Ocean near New Zealand.
New Zealand’s National Emergency Management Agency warned of a tsunami threat along the east of the country’s North Island following a magnitude 8.1 earthquake that struck the Kermadec Islands at 8:28 a.m. local time Friday (11:28 a.m. Pacific Time on Thursday.)
TSUNAMI WARNING issued following Kermadecs earthquake. People near coast from the BAY OF ISLANDS to WHANGAREI, from MATATA to TOLAGA BAY, and GREAT BARRIER ISLAND must MOVE IMMEDIATELY to nearest high ground, out of all tsunami evacuation zones, or as far inland as possible
— National Emergency Management Agency (@NZcivildefence) March 4, 2021
The quake prompted a tsunami watch for the Hawaiian Islands. As of 2:30 p.m. Pacific, the tsunami watch for Hawaii was canceled
State Warning Point: Attention: Pacific Tsunami Warning Center has CANCELLED the Tsunami WATCH for Hawaii islands effective 12:20 PM Hawaii Standard Time. Repeat Tsunami WATCH has been CANCELLED effective 12:20 PM Hawaii islands Standard Time.
— Hawaii EMA (@Hawaii_EMA) March 4, 2021
The U.S. Tsunami Warning Center also determined that said they were not expecting one to strike the West Coast.
Tsunami Info Stmt 4: M8.1 Kermadec Islands Region 1129PST Mar 4: Tsunami NOT expected; CA,OR,WA,BC,and AK
— NWS Tsunami Alerts (@NWS_NTWC) March 4, 2021
The magnitude 8.1 earthquake took place about two hours after a magnitude 7.4 earthquake that struck the Kermadec Islands, which are about 500 miles northeast of the country’s North Island.
Earlier in the day, a magnitude 7.3 earthquake struck much closer to New Zealand’s population centers. The U.S. Geological Survey said the quake was centered at a depth of 20.8 kilometers (13 miles) under the ocean about 174 kilometers (108 miles) northeast of the city of Gisborne. Residents of Gisborne reported light to moderate shaking, it said.
It was followed by several strong aftershocks measuring between 4.7 and 5.1 magnitudes.
The USGS determined that due to the large distance, the quake was probably not directly related to the later events.
Two large earthquakes have occurred beneath the southwest Pacific today. The earlier M7.3 was strongly felt across much of New Zealand. The more recent M7.4 occurred ~4 hr later, ~900 km away. Given the large distance between them, the events are probably not directly related. 🧵 pic.twitter.com/esymo29T2i
— USGS Earthquakes (@USGS_Quakes) March 4, 2021
The U.S. Tsunami Warning System predicted waves of 0.3 to 1 meter (1 to 3.3 feet) from the earlier earthquake, but later said the threat had passed.
A magnitude 6.3 quake in 2011 hit the city of Christchurch, killing 185 people and destroying much of its downtown.
There were no immediate reports of serious damage or casualties.
© Copyright 2021 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.