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Warning: Tsunami Marine and Beach Threat #6 16:15 17/9/15

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National Warning: Tsunami Marine and Beach Threat


No: 06


Issued at 16:15 hours on 17/09/15

The Ministry of Civil Defence & Emergency Management (MCDEM) has issued a tsunami warning (marine and beach threat) for Chatham Islands and East Coast New Zealand. Please See the attached map for affected areas.

People in coastal areas should:

1. Stay out of the water (sea, rivers and estuaries, including boating activities)
2. Stay off beaches and shore areas
3. Do not go sightseeing
4. Share this information with family, neighbours and friends
5. Listen to the radio and/or TV for updates
6. Follow instructions of local civil defence authorities

The tsunami warning will remain in effect until a cancellation message is issued by MCDEM. Updates will be issued hourly.

Only messages issued by MCDEM represent the official warning status for New Zealand, not those issued by the Pacific Tsunami Warning Centre (PTWC).

This warning has been issued to all local civil defence authorities, emergency services, other agencies and media. Local civil defence authorities will interpret this information for their areas and advise public action via local radio stations.


More Detail

Wave heights of between 0.2-1m can be expected for much of the East Coast of the entire New Zealand coast (please refer to attached map) and Chatham Island. The northern region of Chatham Islands will most likely experience wave heights in the higher portion of the 0.2m-1m band.

All other areas of New Zealand should take care of unusual currents if they are at the beach.

The next Tsunami Experts Panel meeting will be held at 4pm, further modelling should be completed by then that includes a more refined earthquake source.

Areas under ‘Marine and Beach Threat’: Expect unusually strong currents and unpredictable water flows near the shore. This means a threat to beach, harbour, estuary and small boat activities. The severity of currents and changing water flows will vary within a particular coastal area and over the period this warning is in effect. Current assessments indicate that coastal inundation (flooding of land areas near the shore) is not expected but this assessment may change.


• The wave amplitudes given indicate the largest expected wave activity at any coastal point in the particular coastal zone and at any time during the entire period this warning is in effect (tsunami activity will vary in a zone and with time; the first wave activity may also not be the largest).

• The given amplitudes do not include the local tidal or sea state at the time of tsunami activity.

• Local authorities will determine the implication of the expected wave heights for their areas and will decide on appropriate response actions (e.g. evacuations). Listen or check for this information from your local authority.

The first tsunami activity may reach New Zealand in the areas around Chatham Islands at approximately 23:00hrs. This may be later and the first activity may not be the most significant. Tsunami activity will continue for several hours and the threat must be regarded as real until this warning is cancelled.

This warning has been issued to all local civil defence authorities, emergency services, other agencies and media. MCDEM and scientific advisors are closely monitoring the situation to update this assessment. Information will be updated or repeated at least hourly until this warning is cancelled. Also seewww.civildefence.govt.nz


Information for emergency managers

An earthquake has occurred with these parameters:

Origin time:22:54 UTC SEP16
NZ time:10:54 NZST 16/09/15
Co-ordinates:31.5S, 72.0W
Location:Near central coast of Chile

The above magnitude is provisional and may be increased or decreased as more seismic data becomes available.

Estimates of expected earliest wave arrival times are as follows:

Note: These times are provisional and based on the best information available. Arrival times may be as much as one hour later and may be adjusted in subsequent messages.

LocationEarliest Wave Arrival Time
Chatham Islands-Kaingaroa0.7m, 23:00, 17/09/15
Chatham Islands-Waitangi0.7m, 23:00, 17/09/15
North Cape0.3m, 00:47, 18/09/15
WhangareiNo Information
Auckland East01:38, 18/9/15
Auckland WestNo Information
Mt MaunganuiNo Information
East Cape0.3m, 00:21, 18/9/15
Gisborne0.3m, 00:21, 18/9/15
New PlymouthNo Information
NapierNo Information
WanganuiNo Information
Wellington00:25, 18/9/15
NelsonNo Information
Marlborough SoundsNo Information
WestportNo Information
GreymouthNo Information
LytteltonNo Information
TimaruNo Information
Milford SoundNo Information
DunedinNo Information
BluffNo Information
Stewart IslandNo Information

Estimates of expected threat levels are as per the attached map.

Local and regional/Group Civil Defence Emergency Management must:

1. Maintain activation of appropriate response coordination arrangements and communication processes
2. Keep potentially at-risk communities informed as appropriate
3. Maintain contact with the NCMC (CDEM Groups only)
4. Stand by for further information.

Local CDEM to act in coordination with regional/Group CDEM.

Local emergency services must establish and maintain active response coordination with respective local and regional/Group Civil Defence Emergency Management.

MCDEM has activated the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with public broadcasters to broadcast this warning.


NCMC status

The National Crisis Management Centre (NCMC) is activated.

General enquiries(04) 494 6900
Media enquiries(04) 494 6951
Satellite phone00881 621 465 606

Useful websites


Further updates

A further update with more information will follow within the next hour. Until a cancellation is issued updates will continue at least hourly. All further updates will be communicated by MCDEM via the national warning system.


Issued by

Message authorised by the National Controller, Civil Defence Emergency Management.

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