It is now expected that any tsunami activity to hit the east coast of the Waikato region may start to show up just after 9am this morning. This prediction follows signs tsunami activity has occurred at the Chatham Islands later than originally expected.
Waikato Civil Defence Emergency Management Group is continuing to urge residents of the Waikato region’s east coast to stay away from the ocean due to the warning that a tsunami up to one metre high may strike following the earthquake off Chile.
Group controller Chris McLay said that on the east coast tsunami activity is expected to primarily present a threat to craft at sea or people in the water as it is anticipated it will be under one metre high at this stage. No evacuations of residents are currently planned.
Mr McLay urged boaties and swimmers to stay out of the sea and for people to stay away from the coast and refrain from sightseeing. “People should listen carefully to radio and TV for updates on the situation and follow the instructions of Civil Defence authorities.”
The tsunami could possibly pose a threat to people and structures on land if it turned out to be higher than expected. The Group and its Thames Valley Emergency Operating Area will advise if evacuation is necessary.
The Group has formally activated to monitor the threat posed by the tsunami, provide necessary advice to the public and respond as required.
The Thames Valley EOA, which covers operations on the region’s east coast, has activated. The Waikato Valley Emergency Operating Area, which covers the region’s west coast, is on standby and the Southern Emergency Operating Area is on standby to assist.
Mr McLay stressed that tsunami activity could continue for some time after any initial wave and this meant it was particularly important to stay tuned for advice on whether a threat still remained.
Mr McLay said Civil Defence would provide any relevant advice to people on the west coast as required. Currently it is estimated that only a small observable change in sea levels may occur on the west coast in the Waikato region.