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A volcano caused a tsunami in Tonga, alerts issued from Japan to the United States

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Issued on: 1/15/2022 – 12:26

An underwater volcano in the South Pacific erupted on Saturday with a spectacular explosion, sending tsunami waves to nearby Tonga and further north in Japan, with warnings of dangerous ocean storms being issued as far away as the US West Coast.

Tragic satellite images showed the long, rumbling eruption of Hongga Tonga Hong Hapai sending a huge mushroom of smoke and ash into the air and shocking through the surrounding waters.

A tsunami measuring 1.2 meters (four feet) was observed in Nuku’alofa, the capital of Tonga, according to the Australian Bureau of Meteorology.

The Japan Meteorological Agency said the tsunami waves reached the Pacific coast of that country as well, with waves reaching a height of three meters (11 feet).

The agency said a wave of 1.2 meters in length reached the remote southern island of Amami Oshima and other areas along Japan’s Pacific coast experienced lower altitudes.

People rushed to higher ground on the Tonga Islands, an archipelago. Meri Taufa, a local resident, said she was at home preparing for dinner when the volcano erupted under the sea – bringing water into her home.

“It was massive, the ground shook, our house was shaking. It came in waves. My younger brother thought bombs were exploding nearby,” Tova told the Stuff news website.

Minutes later, she said, water filled their house and she saw the wall of a nearby house collapse.

“We knew right away that it was a tsunami. Only water was flowing into our house.

“You could only hear screams everywhere, people screaming for safety, for everyone to reach higher ground.”

The Sixth King of Tonga Tubu is reported to have been evacuated from the royal palace at Nuku’alofa and taken by a police convoy to a villa far from the coast.

The eruption lasted at least eight minutes and sent plumes of gas, ash and smoke several kilometers into the air.

Residents in coastal areas were urged to head to higher ground after the eruption – which came just hours after an earlier tsunami warning was raised on the island.

#Tonga 🇹🇴 # Tsunami warning issued to all islands after a massive eruption of an underwater volcano in Honga – Tonga – Hongga – Ha’apai

Listening warnings. Video: ht Dr. nawaf_sakimana, Tonga Parliament Buildings Project Project Coordinator pic.twitter.com/9UbZiLckR

– 🚶🏻Curtis S. Chin (@CurtisSChin) Jan 15, 2022 “Away”

Hunga Tonga-Hunga Ha’apai volcano is located about 65 kilometers north of the Tongan capital, Nuku’alofa.

Its recent eruption was so severe that it was heard as “loud thunder” in Fiji more than 800 kilometers (500 miles) away, according to officials in the city of Suva – where images posted on social media showed huge waves hitting the coast.

Tsunami warnings were issued for American Samoa, New Zealand, Fiji, Vanuatu, Chile and Australia – where authorities said swathes of the coast, including Sydney, could be hit by a tsunami.

“People in the surrounding NSW state have been advised to get out of the water and stay away from the water’s immediate edge”.

A tsunami warning was issued for the entire western coast of the United States — from the bottom of California to the tip of the Aleutian Islands in Alaska — while tsunami waves caused “minor flooding” in Hawaii, according to the Pacific Tsunami Warning Center.

The US National Tsunami Warning Center wrote: “Tsunami has occurred. Remember: the first wave may not be this large. Move away from shore and go higher.”

Footage circulating on social media shows a wave of foot washing in a coastal inlet in Oregon.

Canada issued a tsunami warning for British Columbia and urged people to stay away from beaches and marinas.

Fijian officials have warned residents not to cover water harvesting tanks in case of acid rain.

Victoria Keough of Tonga’s Public Service Commission said on Friday that people should “keep away from warning areas which are coastal lowland areas, coral reefs and beaches”.

Tonga’s head of geological services, Taniela Kula, urged people to stay indoors, wear masks if outside and cover rainwater tanks and rainwater harvesting systems.

(AFP)

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Sources

1/ https://Google.com/

2/ https://www.france24.com/en/asia-pacific/20220115-tongans-flee-tsunami-as-volcanic-eruption-triggers-warnings-across-south-pacific

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