An urgent tsunami warning for a popular holiday destination in Australia has been made following a massive 7.7 magnitude undersea earthquake struck southeast of New Caledonia.
The earthquake occurred at around 1.30pm on Friday near the Loyalty Islands and is expected to bring dangerous rips, waves and strong currents to Lord Howe Island.
The roughly 450 residents are being advised to "get out of the water", warn their neighbours and not watch the tsunami from the coast, according to Australia's Bureau of Meteorology (BOM).
“Boats in harbours, estuaries or shallow coastal water should return to shore and be secured. People should move away from the waterfront and obey all signs about beach and foreshore closures,” Assistant Commissioner Nicole Hogan with the NSW SES said in a statement.
“At present there is no threat to mainland Australia, and the NSW SES is in constant communication with the Bureau of Meteorology and is monitoring the situation.”
Vessels already out to sea should stay offshore in water at least 25 meters deep until further advised.
#LordHoweIsland under #Tsunami Warning to the marine environment after magnitude 7.7 #earthquake near Southeast of Loyalty Islands. No threat to Mainland Australia. 22cm Tsunami Wave observed in New Caledonia. Latest info here: https://t.co/i5DML5E1hR. pic.twitter.com/jCXIHoGAi6
— Bureau of Meteorology, Australia (@BOM_au) May 19, 2023
The tsunami is expected to start from 4.15pm and continue for several hours, with updates on BOM to come.
New Zealanders have also been warned about the earthquake, with their National Emergency Management Agency advising people to expect "strong and unusual currents and unpredictable surges at the shore".
Those seeking emergency assistance should call the NSW SES on 132 500 or triple-0 for life threatening situations.
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