Tsunami Advisory Issued For Entire West Coast As Volcano Eruption Triggers Huge Shockwaves
A Tsunami advisory warning has been issued throughout much of the Pacific following a powerful volcano eruption off the coast of Tonga.
The underwater volcano in the South Pacific erupted on Saturday morning, January 15, for the second time in 48 hours, causing a shockwave felt as far away as New Zealand and sending waves flooding into Tonga’s largest island, Tongatapu.
A Tsunami warning was issued for Tonga, and has since been extended to cover New Zealand’s North Island, the entire east coast of Japan, Hawai’i and the entire west coast of the United States mainland and Canada from California to Alaska.
The United States National Weather Service’s National Tsunami Warning Centre warned residents to move away from the coast and seek higher ground, stating that ‘a tsunami has been confirmed and some impacts are expected’. The Tsunami advisory warning is the second highest Tsunami alert level issued by the National Weather Service,
In Hawai’i, reports have already emerged of boats being moved ashore by waves, with waves recorded of up to 2 feet. However the Pacific Tsunami Warning Center has since confirmed that there was ‘no reported damage and only minor flooding’ on the island.
The first waves were expected to arrive on the US mainland at around 8.00am local time (4.00pm UK time.)
The eruption, which was captured through satellite imagery, sent clouds of ash and gas into the air and left residents in Tonga’s capital Nuku’alofa scrambling for higher ground, with Radio New Zealand reporting the the small island nation’s King Tupou VI was evacuated from the royal palace after tsunami waves flooded the capital.
Australia’s Bureau of Meteorology said the largest tsunami wave of 1.2 metres (around 4 feet) was recorded near Nuku’alofa, per CNN. Tsunami waves of between one and two feet are possible on the US west coast, the NWS said.
There are currently no reports of injuries following the impact of the eruption, with the extent of the damage in Tonga as yet unknown.
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CreditsNational Weather Service/Twitter
National Weather Service/Twitter