A tsunami warning has been issued for the United States after waves struck Tonga as a result of a volcano explosion.
After an undersea volcano in the South Pacific erupted in a dramatic eruption on Saturday, spewing a cloud of ash and gas vapor into the air, a tsunami slammed Tonga’s biggest island, Tongatapu, and allegedly brought waves surging into the capital.
Tonga’s islands and sections of Japan have been issued with a tsunami warning. Tsunami warnings have also been issued for New Zealand’s North Island, the United States’ west coast from California to Alaska, and British Columbia, Canada.
A large ash cloud and shockwaves are seen on satellite images as a result of the eruption.
As reported by CNN affiliate Radio New Zealand, waves pounded the shores of Tonga’s capital, Nuku’alofa, on Saturday, washing over coastal roads and flooding homes (RNZ).
Tonga’s King Tupou VI was evacuated from the Royal Palace when the tsunami swamped the city, according to RNZ, which cited local media reports that the king was transported to a mansion at Mata Ki Eua by a convoy of police and army.
Residents fled to higher ground as waves swamped the royal grounds, shoreline, and main street, according to RNZ.
On Saturday evening, ash was falling from the sky in Nuku’alofa, and phone connections were down, according to RNZ.
According to RNZ, the Hunga-Tonga-Hunga-Ha’apai volcano erupted for the first time on Friday, blasting a column of ash 20 kilometers (12.4 miles) into the air.
RNZ reported a second eruption occurred at 5:26 p.m. local time on Saturday. At 5:30 p.m. local time on Saturday, the Australian Bureau of Meteorology reported a tsunami wave of 1.2 meters (approximately 4 feet) in Nuku’alofa. Tsunami waves of 2.7 feet (83 centimeters) were recorded by gauges in Nuku’alofa and 2 feet (60 centimeters) in Pago Pago, the capital of American Samoa, according to the Pacific Tsunami Warning Center. There was footage of enormous waves rolling up on the shores of Fiji and people scrambling to get out of harm’s way by hiding in their cars. People are fleeing for their lives as the explosion has turned Tonga pitch-black, he said in another tweet. Fonuafo’ou Island in Tonga is situated around 30 kilometers (18.6 miles) southeast of the volcano, according to RNZ, while Nuku’alofa is located about 65 kilometers (40 miles) to the north.
Tonga’s Meteorological Services issued warnings for heavy rain, flash floods, and high winds on land and coastal seas, in addition to the tsunami warning.
People living in low-lying coastal regions were also advised to “move to safety in preparation for the strong currents and severe waves” by the neighbouring island of Fiji.
According to Vanuatu’s National Disaster Management Office, a tsunami warning is in force for the Pacific island country, with citizens instructed to evacuate away from the shore and seek higher ground.
The Samoa Meteorological Service has issued a tsunami warning for all low-lying coastal regions of Samoa, advising residents and tourists to avoid beach areas.
According to NHK, Japan’s Meteorological Agency has issued a tsunami warning for the southern Amami Islands and the Tokara island chain in Kagoshima Prefecture and a tsunami advisory for all coastal locations facing the Pacific Ocean. A three-meter tsunami is anticipated to hit Japan as a result of an underwater volcano explosion off the coast of Tonga, according to NHK.
The United States is being warned.
A tsunami warning has been issued for the west coast of the United States.This includes all of the states on that coast as well as Alaska.
The Pacific Tsunami Warning tweeted that the tsunami that hit the Hawaiian Islands had caused no damage so far.
Tsunami warnings have been issued for the west coast of the United States.
Early Saturday, a one-to-two-foot-high wave was seen moving toward the US mainland’s Pacific Coast.
All Islands’ Emergency Management is presently monitoring a tsunami. We are glad that no damage has been recorded and that only minor flooding has occurred over the islands. ” The agency sent out a tweet.
While the island had experienced some water in low-lying regions, there were no reports of loss of life or “noteworthy damage” from the tsunami, according to Adam Weintraub, communications director for the Hawaii Emergency Management Agency. He didn’t say which locations were affected by the slight floods.
According to Weintraub, the effects were comparable to those of a “high King Tide.” “There was some flooding in parking lots and port areas,” Weintraub said, adding that the EMA was keeping a close watch on any developments.
At the NWS National Tsunami Warning Center in Palmer, a tsunami warning coordinator, Dave Snider, said the wave is going into Hawaii.
According to current estimates, the wave is one to two feet high and headed towards the US mainland’s Pacific Coast. Along the California coast, the projected arrival time was 7 a.m. to 7:30 a.m. Pacific Time.
“We don’t have a very good prognosis since this event is predicated on a volcano rather than an earthquake,” Snider said over the phone.
Snider points out that the US west coast is now under an alert, not a tsunami warning.
Nonetheless, on Saturday, the National Weather Service in Seattle advised caution along the US Pacific Coast. NWS Seattle tweeted, “Move off the beach and off of ports and marinas in these regions.”
“Along certain coastal locations, strong currents and greater waves are conceivable. The first wave may not be the most powerful. Larger waves may continue to smash the shore for hours following the first wave, according to the agency.
Continue to remain out of the sea and away from the coastline along the coastal regions, “the agency said,” adding that it will “continue to watch for developments.”
New Zealand is on high alert.
According to New Zealand’s National Emergency Management Agency, “strong and unusual currents and unexpected surges at the beach” were forecast in coastal regions on the north and east coasts of New Zealand’s North Island, as well as the Chatham Islands.
The official meteorological service of New Zealand stated its weather stations around the nation had seen “a pressure spike” as a result of the eruption on Saturday evening.
Using a weather satellite, the Japan Meteorological Agency has published a picture of an underwater volcanic eruption on the Pacific island of Tonga.
The National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research’s Emily Lane informed the New Zealand Science Media Centre that the eruption was “extremely substantial.”
“The explosion’s shock wave is plainly visible in satellite images, with reports of the eruption being heard as far as New Zealand,” she added. “The tsunami generated by the eruption has travelled almost 2,500 kilometers, according to gauges throughout Aotearoa.”
According to Lane, tsunamis caused by volcanoes are far rarer than tsunamis caused by undersea earthquakes.
Lane noted that a minor eruption in late 2014 or early 2015 raised the volcano’s crater above the water level, but it’s still unclear how Hunga-Tonga-Hungapai erupted on this occasion. She added that when we see what’s left of the island after the eruption is complete, we’ll be able to start piecing together the puzzle.
According to Professor Shane Cronin of the University of Auckland’s School of Environment, research into previous eruptions by the same volcano suggests that the current eruption episode could last for weeks or months, and that “further similar-sized eruptions to the January 15, 2022 event are possible,” according to the New Zealand Science Media Centre.
He predicted “substantial ash fall (cm to 10 cm) on Tongatapu and the Ha’apai group of islands” as a result of the eruption. To restore drinking water supplies, assistance will be required. Tonga’s people must also be on the lookout for other eruptions, particularly tsunamis, which may strike without warning, and should avoid low-lying locations. “
The NWS Pacific Tsunami Warning Center has subsequently discontinued an earlier tsunami warning for American Samoa.
According to the Pacific Tsunami Warning Center, a “remote eruption” poses no tsunami hazard to Guam or the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands.
According to RNZ, the volcano had been active since December 20 but was declared inactive on January 11.