Massive Earthquake Shakes New Zealand, Aftershocks Continue
Early Monday morning (local time), a massive 7.8 magnitude earthquake struck approximately 53 kilometers north-northeast of Amberley, New Zealand, on the country’s South Island (USGS, ReliefWeb/IFRC). According to reports, shaking was felt widely throughout the country and tsunami waves (heights of 1-2 meters) were recorded along the coasts in Kaikoura, Christchurch, Wellington, and Castlepoint (ReliefWeb/IFRC, New Zealand Civil Defence Media Release #3).
Hundreds of aftershocks have been reported since the initial earthquake, and are expected to occur over the next few months (ReliefWeb/IFRC). As of November 17, evacuations out of quake-affected communities are ongoing (New Zealand Civil Defence Media Release #11). Severe weather conditions, including heavy rain and severe gales, may affect post-quake efforts in Kaikoura into Friday, but are expected to subside Friday afternoon through the middle of next week (NZ Met Service, Reuters).
RVA Country Profile: New Zealand
This Week in Hazards
- Widespread thunderstorm warnings are in effect for parts of Malaysia, as severe weather conditions are expected to impact the country through Friday (MOSTI). In addition to persistent heavy rains and strong winds, the Malaysian Meteorological Department advises that rough seas with waves up to 3.5 meters (11 feet) are possible, noting that such conditions are dangerous to small boats (MOSTI).
- Significant heavy rainfall over the last week triggered localized flooding in parts of South Africa, which led to infrastructure damage, population displacement, and deaths (CPC). On November 16, officials declared a “state of disaster” in parts of the Gauteng region, where heavy downpours and flash floods caused extensive damage to residential properties and impacted transportation infrastructure (SA News). Similar weather conditions are expected to continue into next week, which may worsen flood conditions in the country’s Gauteng and Mpumalanga regions (CPC).
- In the United States, more than 60 wildfires (nine of which are considered “major fires”) remain active in Tennessee, producing unhealthy air quality conditions over eastern parts of the state (TEMA). Much of Tennessee is experiencing severe-to-exceptional drought conditions, with the area considered in extreme drought expanding (U.S. Drought Monitor). According to Tennessee’s Emergency Management Agency, relief from drought and wildfire threat is “not imminent” as weather forecasts do not show any significant precipitation over the state for the remainder of the year.
Current Hazard Warnings
Flood: Scotland, South Africa, Lesotho, Indonesia (West Java), Dominican Republic (Santiago), Australia (New South Wales, Victoria)
Winter Storm: United States (Northern Rockies)
Earthquake: New Zealand
Wildfire: United States (Tennessee, Georgia)
Drought: United States (Western, Southern, Northeastern), Kenya
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