Major 7.4 earthquake hits Christchurch, my home town! Most of my family lives there, but I haven't for a long time. Last back there in June - and not even a hint of a shaker ;)
Earthquake struck at 4:35 am Saturday, epicenter was some 30 km west of Christchurch and was shallow just 10 km down. Not on the major Alpine fault, but a minor one that seismologists didn't expect to cause much trouble. But large, shallow quakes can be damaging, apparently.
Radio New Zealand is providing very good coverage. Apparently couple of major injuries, no deaths. A lot of close escapes from falling chimneys collapsing into bedrooms.
Significant damage in centre of city. Water, power, and sewage out in many parts of city. Most damage to older brick buildings. thank goodness for tight building codes. The port of Lyttelton has suffered some significant damage. A few bridges are unstable or otherwise damaged. Suburbs of New Brighton and Brooklands may be evacuated because of flooding and sewage problems.
Power company is saying an initial assessment suggests the power can be restored to about 90% of the city by nightfall today. The central business district will take longer as they need to isolate individual damaged buildings from the system first. It sounds like the water supply & sewage system will be out for longer.