NORMALLY bustling Clarence Valley beaches were yesterday morning almost empty after being closed due to a tsunami warning.

The alert came through late on Saturday night following a massive earthquake on the other side of the Pacific Ocean in Chile that measured 8.8 on the Richter scale.

Warnings were issued by the Joint Australian Tsunami Warning Centre and the decision made by Surf Life Saving NSW yesterday morning to close all the State’s beaches.

Surf Life Saving North Coast Clarence duty officer Peter Sweetman said most people initially obeyed warnings to keep out of the water.

“One of the first things we did was make sure our rescue equipment was available away from the beaches in case a tsunami wave hit,” he said.

“More people entered the water as the day went on and all we could do was keep an eye on them.”

Despite the safety-first approach, the alert passed without drama as the tsunami waves missed Australia’s east coast.

Mr Sweetman said he did not notice any difference in the level of what was already a very high tide.

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