(CNN) — A tsunami hit Tonga’s largest island, Tongatapu, and reportedly sent waves flooding the capital after an undersea volcano in the South Pacific exploded in a violent eruption on Saturday, sending a cloud of ash and steam from gas in air.
Satellite images show a huge cloud of ash and shock waves spreading from the eruption.
The waves crossed the coast of Tonga’s capital, Nuku’alofa, flowing onto coastal roads and inundating properties, according to CNN affiliate Radio New Zealand (RNZ).
A tsunami warning has been issued for the islands of Tonga. Tsunami warnings were also issued for places as far away as the North Island of New Zealand.
The Hunga-Tonga-Hunga-Ha’apai volcano erupted for the first time on Friday, sending a plume of ash 20 kilometers (12.4 miles) into the air, according to RNZ.
A second eruption hit this Saturday at 5:26 p.m. local time, RNZ reported.
Satellite images show a huge cloud of ash and shock waves spreading from the eruption. Waves from the eruption crossed the coast of Tonga’s capital Nuku’alofa, flowing onto coastal roads and flooding properties, according to RNZ.
The Australian Bureau of Meteorology said it recorded a 1.2-meter (about 4-foot) tsunami wave near Nuku’alofa at 5:30 p.m. local time on Saturday.
The volcano is located about 30 kilometers (18.6 miles) southeast of Tonga’s Fonuafo’ou Island, according to RNZ.
In addition to the tsunami warning, the Tonga Meteorological Services issued warnings of heavy rain, flash flooding and strong winds in land and coastal waters.
The nearby island of Fiji also issued a public advisory asking people living in low-lying coastal areas to “move to safety in anticipation of strong currents and dangerous waves.”
A tsunami warning remains in place for all of Samoa’s coastal waters, according to the Samoa Meteorological Service. No evacuation is required, but members of the public are advised to stay away from beach areas, the agency said.
A tsunami warning has also been issued for coastal areas on the north and east coast of New Zealand’s North Island and the Chatham Islands, where “unusual strong currents and unpredictable coastal surges are expected,” according to the National Tsunami Agency. New Zealand Emergency Management.
New Zealand’s official weather service said its weather stations across the country had noted “an increase in pressure” on Saturday night due to the eruption.
An earlier tsunami warning issued for American Samoa has since been cancelled, according to the NWS Pacific Tsunami Warning Center.
There is no tsunami threat to Guam and the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands due to a “distant eruption,” according to the Pacific Tsunami Warning Center.
“These are some of the latest water level observations we have recorded,” NWS tweeted. on Saturday afternoon.
TO #Tsunami is occurring along the AK, British Columbia, & US West Coast. Here are some of the latest water level observations we’ve recorded. Move to high ground and stay away from the coastline. Follow instructions from your local emergency management officials.
— NWS Tsunami Alerts (@NWS_NTWC) January 15, 2022
The volcano had been active since December 20, but was declared dormant on January 11, according to RNZ.
Warning to the United States
A tsunami warning is in effect for the US West Coast, including California, Oregon, Washington and Alaska, according to the NWS National Tsunami Warning Center in Palmer, Alaska.
Dave Snider, tsunami warning coordinator at the National Tsunami Warning Center in Palmer, Alaska, told CNN, “We’ve seen the wave moving across the island of Hawaii.”
Current observations indicate that the wave is between 0.3 and 0.6 meters high and is heading towards the Pacific coast of the continental United States. Estimated arrival time along the California coast is 7:00 am to 7:30 am Pacific Time.
Speaking by phone, Snider noted: “We don’t have a really good forecast because this event is based on a volcano rather than an earthquake.”
Snider notes that this is currently an advisory and not a tsunami warning in effect for the US west coast after the Tonga eruption.
The White House, along with the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration is “closely monitoring” the tsunami warning situation “should any need arise.” local,” according to an official.
A FEMA spokesperson tweeted that the agency does not expect damage from the tsunami, but is deploying a FEMA liaison officer to offer support if needed.
For its part, the National Weather Service in Seattle issued a strong warning this Saturday morning after a tsunami warning was issued for the Pacific coast of the United States. “Get off the beach and from the ports and marinas in these areas,” NWS Seattle tweeted.
“Strong currents and larger waves are possible along these coastal areas. The first wave may not be the largest,” the agency warned.
The Pacific Tsunami Warning Center has canceled the tsunami warning for Hawaii, according to the Hawaii Emergency Management Agency.
However, the center warned that “small changes in sea level, strong or unusual currents may persist for several additional hours in some coastal areas”, and boaters and swimmers should be careful.
In the morning, Adam Weintraub, director of communications for the Hawaii Emergency Management Agency (EMA), told CNN that the island saw some water in low-lying areas, but there were no reports of leaks. lives or “notable damage”. Weintraub says the impacts were the equivalent of a “royal high tide.”
“There is some flooding in parking lots and port areas, but it was nuisance flooding,” Weintraub said, adding that the EMA is keeping an eye on any developments.
Tsunami warning for parts of Japan
“The Japan Meteorological Agency issued a tsunami warning for South Amami Island and the Tokara island chain in Kagoshima Prefecture and a tsunami warning for all coastal areas facing the Pacific Ocean.
A three-meter tsunami is expected to reach Japan following an undersea volcanic eruption off the Pacific nation of Tonga,” reports Japanese public broadcaster NHK.
The highest tsunami observed is 120 centimeters, in the Kominato district of Amami-Oshima Island at 11:55 p.m. on Saturday. [9:55 a.m. ET], according to NHK.
The tsunami warning has also been extended to Iwate prefecture in northern Japan, NHK reported, with people being urged to stay away from beaches.
Tsunami threat for the coasts of Chile
The National Emergency Office of the Ministry of the Interior and Public Security (ONEMI) indicated this Saturday on its Twitter account that together with the Hydrographic and Oceanographic Service of the Chilean Navy (SHOA) they are monitoring the country’s coasts due to the threat of a tsunami after the volcanic explosion that occurred in Tonga.
“ONEMI and SHOA maintain monitoring due to a State of Precaution for the Juan Fernández Archipelago, Easter Island, San Félix and Chilean Antarctica,” the authorities detailed.
Claudia Dominguez, Haley Brink, Alex Stambaugh, Rhea Mogul, and Sophie Jeong contributed to this report.