North tsunami sirens turned off, but stay clear of coast as precaution

14 Nov 2016, 3:10 AM

People along Northland’s east coast are being warned to watch for unusually strong currents and unpredictable water flows near the shore after a strong earthquake in the South Island early today. 

Tsunami sirens – which had been earlier activated around Northland as a precaution – have now been turned off, with the Ministry of Civil Defence & Emergency Management (MCDEM) updating Northland’s status to ‘beach and marine threat’ only at 2.15am. 

The Northland CDEM Group has thanked Northland residents who had evacuated themselves to higher ground and says it is now safe for them to return home, although they should keep up to date with latest information as it comes to hand. 

Group spokesman Graeme MacDonald, says areas classed as under ‘Marine and Beach Threat’ – Northland’s current status – can still 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.”  

“In Northland, past experience has shown us that this could lead to unusual and strong currents throughout today in harbours and coastal areas, including places like the Tutukaka Harbour.” 

With that in mind, Northland Civil Defence locally was urging a sensible, precautionary approach. 

Northlanders in coastal areas should:

  • Stay off beaches
  • Stay out of the water (sea, rivers and estuaries) - this includes boating activities
  • Not go sightseeing 

Mr MacDonald says Civil Defence, local authority, police and other officials are monitoring the situation closely and the Northland CDEM Group will release new information as it comes to hand. 

Civil Defence information is available from the Northland Civil Defence Emergency Management Group’s (CDEM) Facebook page –