The Pacific Tsunami Warning Center in Hawaii has canceled the tsunami warning for the Pacific region and Civil Defence has downgraded its tsunami warning for New Zealand. However it says people living in coastal areas should remain vigilant.
Fourteen people in American Samoa are confirmed dead and at least five others in Western Samoa are believed to have perished in the tsunami, triggered by the magnitude 8.3 earthquake off Samoa this morning.
Wendy Booth, who owns the Sea Breeze Resort on the southeast coast of Upolu in Western Samoa, says the building was destroyed by the four waves that swept in. She says she and her husband managed to grab hold of a handrail as the waves surged through the building but the rail gave way during the pressure created as the second wave retreated. She says it is a miracle she is still alive.
Ms Booth says residents never received a tsunami warning and some were even told by officials that there would be no tsunami and that they should not panic.
New Zealand’s Civil Defence says a 40 centimetre wave reached East Cape and it has downgraded its initial warning to a potential threat advisory. But it also says waves may continue for many hours and a threat also remains of strong currents.
TVNZ has reported that the tsunami alert has been reissued but Civil Defence has confirmed that it is not the case.
on 30/09/2009 8:44am
Hi Weather Watch Team,
I have just uploaded footage I took earlier tonight of the disturbed water and tidal rush at Long Bay in Auckland during the High Tide.
While it may only be a few cm higher than normal there is still a huge amount of force behind those waves.