Tonga eruption: Tsunami notice issued for California, Oregon, Washington after volcano erupts in South Pacific

A tsunami has hit Tonga’s largest island, Tongatapu, and is reported to have sent waves crashing into the capital after an underwater volcano in the South Pacific exploded in a violent eruption. on Saturday, sending a cloud of ash and gas into the air.

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Tsunami warning was granted to the islands of Tonga. Tsunami advisories have also been issued for New Zealand’s North Island and the west coast of the United States from California to Alaska, as well as Canada’s British Columbia.

Satellite images show a giant ash cloud and shock waves propagating from the eruption.

Waves crossed the coast of Tonga’s capital Nuku’alofa on Saturday, flooding coastal roads and flooding areas, according to CNN, radio New Zealand (RNZ).

King Tupou VI of Tonga had to be evacuated from the Royal Palace after a tsunami hit the capital, RNZ reported, citing local press reports that a convoy of police and military vehicles was in a hurry. took the king to a villa at Mata Ki Eua.

Residents head to higher ground as waves wash over the palace grounds, waterfront and main street, RNZ said.

RNZ said Ash fell from the sky in Nuku’alofa on Saturday night and phone connection was disconnected.

The Hunga-Tonga-Hunga-Ha’apai volcano first erupted on Friday, sending a plume of ash 20 kilometers (12.4 miles) up in the air, according to RNZ.

A second eruption occurred on Saturday at 5:26 pm local time, RNZ reported.

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The Australian Bureau of Meteorology said it recorded a 1.2 meter (about 4 feet) high tsunami near Nuku’alofa at 5:30pm local time on Saturday.

The Pacific Tsunami Warning Center said a 2.7-foot (83-centimeter) tsunami was observed with a gauge in Nuku’alofa and a 2-foot wave in Pago Pago, the capital of American Samoa, Reuters reported. news.

Jese Tuisinu, a television reporter at Fiji One, posted a video on Twitter showing large waves washing up on the shore, with people trying to escape the floodwaters entering their cars. He said in another tweet: “It’s literally dark and people are rushing to safety after the eruption.

The volcano is located about 30 km (18.6 mi) southeast of the Tonga island of Fonuafo’ou, according to RNZ, and about 65 km (40 mi) north of Nuku’alofa.

In addition to the tsunami warning, Tonga’s Meteorological Agency issued warnings for heavy rain, flash floods and strong winds in inland and coastal waters.

Nearby Fiji also issued a public advisory asking people living in low-lying coastal areas to “move to safety in case of strong currents and dangerous waves.”

A tsunami advisory is also in effect for the Pacific island nation of Vanuatu, with residents advised to move away from the coastline and seek out high ground, according to the Office of National Disaster Management. than.

The Samoa Meteorological Agency said a tsunami warning was in effect for all low-lying coastal areas of Samoa. “All people living on low-lying coastal areas are advised to stay away from beach areas, and the public should limit access to coastal areas,” the agency said.

Warning for the US

A tsunami advisory is currently in effect for the west coast of the United States including the states of California, Oregon, Washington, and Alaska. according to the National Tsunami Warning Center NWS in Palmer, Alaska.

Dave Snider, Tsunami Warning Coordinator at the National Tsunami Warning Center in Palmer, Alaska, told CNN, “We’ve seen the wave move over the Island of Hawaii.”

Current observations suggest a wave one to two feet high is heading towards the mainland US Pacific Coast. Estimated arrival times along the California Coast are 7 a.m. to 7:30 a.m. Pacific Time.


Speaking by phone, Snider noted, “We don’t have a really good forecast because the event is based on a volcano, not an earthquake.”

Snider noted that this is currently an advisory rather than a tsunami warning in effect for the west coast of the United States following the Tonga eruption.

A strong warning from the Seattle National Weather Service was issued for the US Pacific Coast Saturday. “Move away from the beach and out of the docks and marinas in these areas,” NWS Seattle tweeted.

The agency continued to warn: “There may be stronger currents and larger waves along these coastal areas. The first wave may not be the largest.”

“Continue to sea and offshore along the coastal regions and stay tuned for updates.”

New Zealand on alert

A tsunami advisory has also been issued for coastal areas on the north and east coasts of New Zealand’s North Island and the Chatham Islands, according to the New Zealand National Emergency Management Authority. ants have “strong and irregular currents and unpredictable water surges”.

New Zealand’s official weather service said its weather stations around the country observed “a surge of pressure” on Saturday night from the eruption.

Scientist Emily Lane, of New Zealand’s National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research, told the New Zealand Science Media Center it was a “very important” eruption.

“Shock waves from it are clearly visible in satellite images and there are reports of eruptions being heard at least as far as New Zealand,” she said. “Tsunami from the eruption that traveled more than 2,500 kilometers are being recorded on gauges across the whole of Aotearoa.”

Tsunamis generated by volcanoes are much less common than tsunamis caused by underwater earthquakes, Lane said.

A smaller eruption in late 2014/early 2015 built the crater, Lane adds, but it’s still unclear exactly how Hunga-Tonga-Hunga-Ha’apai erupted. in this occasion. “When we see what’s left of the island after this eruption is over, we can begin to put the pieces of what happened together,” she said.

Professor Shane Cronin, from the University of Auckland’s School of Environment, told the New Zealand Science Media Center that research into historic eruptions of the same volcano suggests the current eruption could last weeks or months long” and eruptions of similar scale further up to the January 15, 2022 event.”

“The eruption could result in a significant amount of ash (cm to 10 cm) falling in Tongatapu as well as the Ha’apai group of islands,” he said. “Help will be needed to restore supplies of drinking water. Tongans must also be wary of further eruptions and especially tsunamis with short notice and should avoid low-lying areas.”

According to the NWS Pacific Tsunami Warning Center, a previously issued tsunami warning for American Samoa has been cancelled.

According to the Pacific Tsunami Warning Center, there is no tsunami threat to Guam and the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands from a “distant eruption,” according to the Pacific Tsunami Warning Center. Positive.

According to RNZ, the volcano has been active since December 20, but stopped working on January 11.

Copyright © 2022 KTRK-TV. Copyright Registered. Tonga eruption: Tsunami notice issued for California, Oregon, Washington after volcano erupts in South Pacific

Dais Johnston

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