A magnitude 8.1 earthquake hits the coast of New Zealand, triggering a second tsunami warning

Tsunami alerts were issued for New Zealand and tsunami watches were issued for Hawaii after several strong earthquakes struck along the New Zealand coast on Thursday night and Friday morning.

According to the US Geological Survey, the strongest quake measuring 8.1 magnitudes occurred 600 miles northeast of New Zealand on Friday morning.

There were no major injuries or damage reported right away.

Following the 8.1 quakes, civil defense officials in New Zealand advised residents of some areas on the East Coast of the North Island to evacuate to safer ground as soon as possible and not to shelter in their houses. They warned of the possibility of a devastating tsunami.

“People near the coast from the BAY OF ISLANDS to the WHANGAREI, from the MATATA to TOLAGA BAY, and GREAT BARRIER ISLAND must MOVE IMMEDIATELY to closest high ground, out of all tsunami evacuation areas, or as far inland as possible,” the New Zealand National Emergency Management Agency tweeted.

A tsunami warning had been issued for Hawaii.

The Pacific Tsunami Warning Center said, “Based on all available details, a tsunami could have been triggered by this earthquake, which could be disastrous on coastal areas even far from the epicenter.”

After the first strong, intense earthquake hit off New Zealand’s northeastern coast Thursday night, officials issued a coastal warning.

“We expect massive and extreme waves in New Zealand coastal areas, as well as unexpected tides at the coast,” the National Emergency Management Agency of New Zealand tweeted.

The first quake struck at a depth of 13 miles underneath the ocean, some 108 miles northeast of Gisborne, according to the US Geological Survey. Gisborne residents experienced mild to moderate aftershocks.

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