On January 15, 2022, An underwater volcano off the coast of Tonga erupted which immediately triggered a tsunami warning for several South Pacific island nations.
Article Sponsored by: Parking Lot Striping Albany, GA
It was reported that a four-foot tsunami wave hit Tonga’s capital, Nuku’alofa, on Saturday, resulting in people in the area rushing to reach higher ground. People in the area are providing reports of ash falling from the sky after an underwater volcano erupted near the remote Pacific nation.
The now active volcano, Hunga Tonga-Hunga Ha’apai, is located approximately 40 miles north of the Pacific archipelago’s main island, Tongatapu.
Australia’s Bureau of Meteorology has reported the tsunami on Twitter. But the volcanic eruption has disrupted communication with Tonga, so there have been no immediate official reports of injuries or the extent of the damage.
Tsunami warnings have been issued for nearby Fiji and Samoa with additional alerts, advising people to stay away from low-lying coastal areas.
The U.S. National Tsunami Warning Center has issued a tsunami advisory for Hawaii and the Western Coast of the United States, including Washington, Oregon, and Alaska.
By 8:30 am Saturday, water levels were reported to have risen to six feet in Monterey, CA., and in San Francisco, with higher levels expected later in the day. The tsunami would affect “our coast and bays over the course of several hours, and the highest water levels may not arrive until hours after onset,” the local National Weather Service said on Twitter.
The wave surges off the coast are expected to be similar to those during high tide rather than large cresting waves, it said.
The volcano has been mostly inactive for years, but it intermittently started erupting in December 2021. By Jan. 3, 2022, the activity had decreased significantly, according to a report by the Smithsonian Institution’s Global Volcanism Program.