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Australia and New Zealand tsunami warnings downgraded following evacuations

Article image for Australia and New Zealand tsunami warnings downgraded following evacuations

The tsunami watch alert has been downgraded to a beach and marine threat following a 8.1 magnitude earthquake off New Zealand’s North Island.

Thousands who had to evacuate their homes on Friday morning are now being told they can return but are still advised “to not get in or near the water” around coastal areas.

Newstalk ZB Reporter Jake McKee said the advice changed around 11pm AEST on Thursday.

“It is now a ‘beach and marine’ threat they’re calling it, which means there is still advice to not get in or near the water on New Zealand coastal areas but thankfully it does mean those who had to evacuate this morning are able to finally head home.”

Click PLAY to hear the latest from New Zealand below

 

A tsunami watch alert was issued for Norfolk Island following an 8.1 magnitude earthquake off New Zealand’s North Island.

The warning was issued at 8.36am local time, 6.36am Brisbane time.

The Bureau of Meteorology has since updated the warning as a threat to the marine environment.

Dangerous rips, waves and strong ocean currents along with localised overflow to the immediate foreshore were warned to commence after 10am local time, 8am Brisbane time.

These conditions are expected to persist for several hours.

Earlier this morning, two quakes of 7.2 and 7.4 magnitude shook the NZ coast.

Weather guru Justin Noonan told Neil Breen the 8.1 magnitude earthquake was the strongest earthquake in the world over the last three years.

The 2011 earthquake that hit Christchurch was a 6.2 magnitude.

Townships along the eastern coast of New Zealand were evacuated, including from Bay of Islands to Whangarei, Matata to Tolaga Bay including Whakatane and Opotiki and Great Barrier Island.

“They’ve actually had a tsunami wave height confirmed at 1.3 metres,” said Noonan.

“It’s very heavy traffic-wise trying to get out of places like Whakatane and all that.”

Several other regions have issued tsunami warnings, including Hawaii, American Samoa, Cook Islands, Fiji, New Caledonia, Tonga and Vanuatu.

Press PLAY below to hear more 

Image: Bureau of Meteorology 

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