The entire US West Coast was issued a Tsunami warning after a massive volcano erupted across the Pacific Ocean in Tonga on Saturday. The tsunami waves might also have a low-level flooding effect in Hawaii.
The US National Weather Service gave tsunami warnings from the lower part of California to Alaska’s the Aleutian Islands, foreseeing waves of up to two feet, strong rip currents and coastal flooding.
“A tsunami is currently being observed” in Hawaii, but there was “no reported damage and only minor flooding throughout the islands,” said The Pacific Tsunami Warning Center.
“Move off the beach and out of harbours and marinas in these areas,” it advised.
Frightened Tongans fled to higher ground as the eruption triggered a tsunami in the island nation, with a four-foot wave observed in Tonga’s capital Nuku’alofa.
Throughout the Pacific, including New Zealand, Fiji, Vanuatu and Australia and coastal Chile were issued similar warnings.
The latest eruption of Tonga’s Hunga Tonga-Hunga Ha’apai volcano lasted at least eight minutes and sent plumes of gas, ash and smoke several kilometres into the air.
On Friday, the tsunami warning was lifted due to a previous eruption.