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May 3, 2006

Tsunami May Will Not Hit Fiji and New Zealand - breaking story

Topics: Natural Disasters

Update - Good news: No giant waves hit Tonga, and authorities in New Zealand -- after initially going on high alert -- said there was no danger of a damaging wave slamming into the New Zealand east coast.

Just reported:

A magnitude 8.0 earthquake struck early Thursday near the South Pacific nation of Tonga, the U.S. Geological Survey said. A tsunami warning predicted a giant wave could hit Fiji and New Zealand within minutes.
A Tongan police officer in the capital, Nuku'alofa, said there were no immediate reports of damage or a tsunami.

The temblor, classified by the USGS as a "great" quake, struck 95 miles south of Neiafu, Tonga, and 1,340 miles north-northeast of Auckland, New Zealand. It occurred 20 miles beneath the sea floor.

The U.S. National Weather Service warned that a tsunami could strike Fiji as soon as 1:13 p.m. ET and New Zealand by 2:21 p.m. ET.

The U.S. Pacific Tsunami Warning Center issued the tsunami warning but said it was not known whether the quake generated a potentially deadly giant wave.


Here's the warning:

A TSUNAMI WARNING IS IN EFFECT FOR
TONGA / NIUE / AMERICAN SAMOA / SAMOA / WALLIS-FUTUNA / FIJI

FOR ALL OTHER PACIFIC AREAS, THIS MESSAGE IS AN ADVISORY ONLY.

AN EARTHQUAKE HAS OCCURRED WITH THESE PRELIMINARY PARAMETERS

ORIGIN TIME - 1527Z 03 MAY 2006
COORDINATES - 19.9 SOUTH 174.2 WEST
LOCATION - TONGA ISLANDS
MAGNITUDE - 7.8


EVALUATION

IT IS NOT KNOWN THAT A TSUNAMI WAS GENERATED. THIS WARNING IS BASED ONLY ON THE EARTHQUAKE EVALUATION. AN EARTHQUAKE OF THIS SIZE HAS THE POTENTIAL TO GENERATE A DESTRUCTIVE TSUNAMI THAT CAN STRIKE COASTLINES IN THE REGION NEAR THE EPICENTER WITHIN MINUTES TO HOURS. AUTHORITIES IN THE REGION SHOULD TAKE APPROPRIATE ACTION IN RESPONSE TO THIS POSSIBILITY. THIS CENTER WILL CONTINUE TO MONITOR SEA LEVEL GAUGES NEAREST THE REGION AND REPORT IF ANY TSUNAMI WAVE ACTIVITY IS OBSERVED. THE WARNING WILL NOT EXPAND TO OTHER AREAS OF THE PACIFIC UNLESS ADDITIONAL DATA ARE RECEIVED TO WARRANT SUCH AN EXPANSION.

ESTIMATED INITIAL TSUNAMI WAVE ARRIVAL TIMES. ACTUAL ARRIVAL TIMES MAY DIFFER AND THE INITIAL WAVE MAY NOT BE THE LARGEST. THE TIME BETWEEN SUCCESSIVE TSUNAMI WAVES CAN BE FIVE MINUTES TO ONE HOUR.

LOCATION COORDINATES ARRIVAL TIME
-------------------------------- ------------ ------------
TONGA NUKUALOFA 21.0S 175.2W 1551Z 03 MAY
NIUE NIUE IS. 19.0S 170.0W 1557Z 03 MAY
AMERICAN SAMOA PAGO PAGO 14.3S 170.7W 1620Z 03 MAY
SAMOA APIA 13.8S 171.8W 1622Z 03 MAY
WALLIS-FUTUNA WALLIS IS. 13.2S 176.2W 1643Z 03 MAY
FIJI SUVA 18.5S 178.5E 1704Z 03 MAY


BULLETINS WILL BE ISSUED HOURLY OR SOONER IF CONDITIONS WARRANT. THE TSUNAMI WARNING WILL REMAIN IN EFFECT UNTIL FURTHER NOTICE.

THE WEST COAST/ALASKA TSUNAMI WARNING CENTER WILL ISSUE BULLETINS FOR ALASKA - BRITISH COLUMBIA - WASHINGTON - OREGON - CALIFORNIA.

Hawaii has been advised as well (HT: Speed of Thought)

Posted by tim at May 3, 2006 1:04 PM



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