WELLINGTON, March 5 (Xinhua) -- The National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) of New Zealand on Friday launched the third consecutive tsunami warning after an 8-magnitude quake, the third strong quake overnight, rattled at 8:25 a.m. local time at the Kermadec Islands, around 1,100 km north of the North Island of New Zealand.
The NEMA urged local people to move immediately to the nearest high ground, out of all tsunami evacuation zones, or as far inland as possible and not to stay at home until further message from the NEMA.
Previously, another 7.4-magnitude quake jolted Raoul Island, the largest island of the Kermadec Islands, at 6:41 a.m. local time.
Large coastal areas including the north and the east part of the North Island are affected.
The NEMA warned, "Do not return until an official all-clear message is given by Civil Defence. Walk, run or cycle if at all possible to reduce the chances of getting stuck in traffic congestion. The first wave may not be the largest. Tsunami activity will continue for several hours and the threat is real until this warning is cancelled."
Another massive 7.1-magnitude earthquake rattled at 2:27 a.m. local time about 95 km east of Te Araroa, the far northeast point of the North Island of New Zealand, causing "severe" shakings and sparking tsunami warnings, reported GeoNet NZ.
The quake is defined as "terrifying" and "biggest one I've ever felt" by locals, causing severe shaking felt throughout much of the country.
Trains were halted and lines across eastern parts of the North Island closed ahead of track inspection for possible quake damage.