A large earthquake – magnitude 6.6 – struck central New Zealand today, August 16. The likelihood of a bigger shake is now elevated, following the severe earthquake felt around 2.31 pm.
Latest information from WREMO – 17 August 11 am:REGIONAL UPDATE #4 (FINAL): The Wellington Emergency Operations Centre has deactivated, but we will continue monitoring the situation throughout the weekend and will provide updates if there are any significant developments. Wellington CBD is open for business, however some areas may be cordoned off due to broken glass. Please respect cordons and exercise care.
An information centre for affected residents will be open at Wellington City Council, 101 Wakefield Street, from 10am – 4pm for the next few days.
Aftershocks are continuing. Some buildings have sustained minor damage. Structural engineers are assessing buildings in the CBD today (Saturday), but there have been no reports of major structural damage so far.
Lukes Lane, closed after the earlier big quake, due to threat of a nine storey lift shaft structure collapsing, has been cordoned off again, with emergency demolition of the tower ordered.
16 August 4 pm – Advice to residents of affected areas: When you get home tonight, please ensure you check your grab-bags are easily accessible and you have fresh water, first-aid kit, warm clothing, toilet paper, rubbish bags, strong shoes and gloves, and if you have them – some hand sanitiser, latex gloves, and dust mask. A non-electric land-line phone would be good to dig out too if you have one. Keep the pressure off the phone lines if at all possible. Also, if you’re about to leave Wellington city, bear in mind the roads are pretty jam packed as everyone is having similar ideas.
The quake was centred (as with the last severe one on July 21st) near Seddon in Marlborough, at a depth of 8km. The magnitude has been revised down (from 6.9) to 6.6, with the largest aftershock so far 5.7 (update – three sequential aftershocks around 5.30 pm have come in at 6.2 and at varying depths, with the shallowest occurring 25 km east of Picton 5 km deep). Trains are NOT running, and there are no bus replacements at this stage (4pm).
Check for WREMO (Wellington Regional Emergency Management Office) facebook updates.
Wellington CBD has stood up well, with no reports of injuries, although the shaking continues, and a number of buildings in the CBD are evacuating for safety reasons.
No tsunami warning issued. Keep well clear of power lines and non-safety glass. Stay safe everyone.
Notes from GNS
Look for and extinguish small fires. Fire is a common hazard after an earthquake.
Be aware of possible tsunamis if you live in coastal areas. When local authorities issue a tsunami warning, assume that a series of dangerous waves is on the way. Stay away from the beach.
Be careful when driving after an earthquake and anticipate traffic light outages.