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CLIMATE & ENVIRONMENT Tsunamis and Earthquakes

East Coast beaches temporarily closed after Tsunami hits Tonga after volcanic eruption

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East Coast beaches temporarily closed after Tsunami hits Tonga after volcanic eruption

An underwater volcano off Tonga erupted on Saturday (Jan 15), triggering tsunami warnings and evacuation orders in Japan and causing large waves in several South Pacific islands, where footage on social media showed waves crashing into coastal homes.

Japan’s meteorological agency issued tsunami warnings in the early hours on Sunday and said waves as high as three metres were expected in the Amami islands in the south.

Waves of more than a metre were recorded there earlier.

“We do not know yet whether these (waves) are actually tsunami,” he told the briefing.

Tsunami waves were observed in Tonga’s capital and the capital of American Samoa, a US-based tsunami monitor said, following the eruption at 0410 GMT of the Hunga Tonga-Hunga Ha’apai underwater volcano.

The volcano, which lies about 65km north of Nuku’alofa, caused a 1.2-metre tsunami wave, Australia’s Bureau of Meteorology said.

A tsunami has flooded Tonga’s capital after a large eruption from an undersea volcano. Other Pacific islands and the US have issued advisories and have cautioned residents to seek higher ground.

Undersea Volcano erupts 

The Pacific island of Tonga experienced a large volcanic eruption Saturday followed by a tsunami that flooded parts of the capital, Nuku’alofa.The eruption Saturday was the latest in a series from the undersea Hunga Tonga, Hunga Ha’apai volcano. Saturday’s eruption is the second in only two days.

The surge wave reached a height of 2.7 feet (83 centimeters) in Nuku’alofa, according to the US-based Pacific Tsunami Warning Center.

Tongans were urged to get to higher ground after a massive volcanic eruption triggered a tsunami

There is no information yet on property damage or casualties.

Satellite images showed massive ash clouds and shockwaves spreading from the Hunga Tonga-Hunga Haʻapai volcano.

People all over the South Pacific, including as far away as New Zealand, heard the eruption.

“Videos posted on social media from Tonga showed the tsunami breach the shoreline, and move into the town.”

Tonga’s King Tupou VI had been evacuated from the Royal Palace as many Tongans tried to get to higher ground.

A tsunami advisory was in effect for Hawaii, Alaska, the US Pacific coast and neighboring British Columbia in Canada.

Fiji also issued a tsunami warning, telling residents to avoid shorelines “due to strong currents and dangerous waves.”

New Zealand, more than 2,000 kilometers away from the site of the eruption, has also issued a tsunami advisory.

New Zealand’s National Emergency Management Agency said parts of the country could expect “strong and unusual currents and unpredictable surges at the shore.”


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