New Zealand issues tsunami warning following powerful quake

The 7.4-magnitude earthquake hit just north of Christchurch.

The 7.4-magnitude earthquake hit just north of Christchurch.

(CNN) — New Zealand Civil Defense issued a tsunami warning Sunday following a powerful 7.8-magnitude earthquake that jolted South Island. The tsunami threat covers the east coast of all New Zealand, officials said on Twitter, and waves could arrive immediately.

“The tsunami may arrive in the Eastern Coast of the North Island shortly. Move inland or to higher ground immediately,” the warning said.

A powerful earthquake rocked New Zealand’s South Island on Sunday, according to the US Geological Survey. The quake struck at a shallow depth of 10 kilometers (6.2 miles), the USGS said.

From CNN’s Angela Dewan, Samantha Beech and Sarah Faidell.