An undersea volcano erupted near the Pacific island nation of Tonga on Saturday, sending tsunami waves and a rush to higher ground in Tonga and now a tsunami advisory for Hawaii, Alaska and the U.S. West Coast.
U.S. Tsunami Advisory After Tonga Earthquake
The underwater eruption took places at 6:19pm local time about 287km southwest of Nuku’alofa, the Capital of Tonga. Dramatic satellite footage showed a plume of smoke three miles wide rising 12 miles into the air. Limited damage was reported on the islands of Tonga and the American Samoa, though strong waves (up to four feet tall) and flooding were posted on social media:
Stay safe everyone 🇹🇴 pic.twitter.com/OhrrxJmXAW
— Dr Faka’iloatonga Taumoefolau (@sakakimoana) January 15, 2022
Mannnn my heart hurts for my people rn 😭🇹🇴🙏🏽 pic.twitter.com/QjzW5f1uAy
— Aki🌴🇹🇴 (@ahkee_fifita) January 15, 2022
A flash bulletin from the U.S. National Wether Service warns:
A tsunami capable of producing strong currents that may be hazardous to swimmers, boats, and coastal structures is expected.
If you are located in this coastal area, move off the beach and out of harbors and marinas. Do not go to the coast to watch the tsunami. Be alert to instructions from your local emergency officials.
This bulletin applies to Alaska, Hawaii, and the U.S. West Coast. Waves of up to 2.7 feet have hit Hawaiian shores this morning and similar waves are shortly expected to hit Monterey, California.
Similar tsunami warnings were issued in New Zealand, but have since been cancelled.
I bring your attention to this on a travel blog because many of you might be traveling today or heading out to the beach. Should that be your agenda, do exercise caution and stay safe.
Thankfully, it appears that damage is limited and there are no casualties from this large underwater volcano eruption.
image: United States Geological Survey