Tonga tsunami: Advisory canceled for Washington, Oregon coasts

Tsunami advisories were issued for Hawaii and the west coast of the U.S. on Saturday after a volcano eruption in Tonga.

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The advisories were issued after the undersea volcano erupted near the Pacific nation, sending large tsunami waves crashing against the shore and forcing people to seek higher ground, The Washington Post reported.

Update 10:12 p.m. EST Jan. 15: “Today” provided captivating video of Saturday morning’s  huge undersea volcanic eruption near the South Pacific island of Tonga. The eruption sent a series of tsunami waves across the ocean and onto West Coast beaches throughout the day Saturday, but tsunami advisories across the Pacific Northwest were canceled by 8 p.m. EST.

Update 8:22 p.m. EST Jan. 15: Both the National Weather Service in Seattle and the Washington Emergency Management Division confirmed that the tsunami danger for the Washington and Oregon coasts has passed. Those advisories have been cancelled.

Update 4:46 pm. EST Jan. 15: The tsunami alert for the Fiji Islands group has been canceled, FBC News Fiji reported.

Update 4:27 p.m. EST Jan. 15: The National Weather Service in Anchorage said that the tsunami advisory in the Gulf of Alaska has been canceled. An advisory remains in effect for the Aleutian Islands and the Alaska Peninsula.

Update 1:28 p.m. EST Jan. 15: The Hawaii Emergency Management Agency announced that the Pacific Tsunami Warning Center has canceled the tsunami warning for Hawaii.

Meanwhile, officials in Berkeley, California confirmed that approximately 113 people were evacuated from the city’s marina. Officials said no injuries or damages were reported.

Update 12:53 p.m. EST Jan. 15: Beaches, harbors and piers in Orange County, California, have been closed by the Orange County Sheriff’s Department, according to the agency’s Facebook account.

Update 12:50 p.m. EST Jan. 15: The first waves hit the area near San Diego at about 7:50 a.m. PST, increasing in height by roughly 1 foot to 2 feet, The San Diego Union-Tribune reported.

At 9:25 a.m. PST, the National Weather Service tweeted: “Tsunami waves have started to arrive.”

Update 12:43 p.m. EST Jan. 15: A tsunami advisory remains in effect for Hawaii, but officials said no destructive waves are expected.

There is the potential, however, for sea level changes and strong currents along coastlines. And authorities were reporting small tsunami waves and minor flooding across the state.

Meanwhile, rising waters in Santa Cruz, California, caused the evacuations, KTVU-TV reported in a tweet.

Update 12:18 p.m. EST Jan. 15: The first waves from the tsunami have begun hitting the Pacific Coast of the U.S., CNN reported. Dave Snider, tsunami warning coordinator at the National Tsunami Warning Center in Palmer, Alaska, said measurements of 1 foot have been recorded in Alaska, and 0.7 foot waves had been observed in Monterey, California.

“This may not be the largest wave as this is coming in yet,” Snider told CNN.

The city of Laguna Beach, California closed all beaches and boardwalks during the advisory.

Update 12:07 p.m. EST Jan. 15: According to a tweet from the National Weather Service in Los Angeles, tide gauges show that the tsunami waves are between 1 foot and 2.5 feet.

Update 11:29 a.m. EST Jan. 15: Berkeleyside reported that police in Berkeley, California, are requiring immediate evacuation for people living in the marina.

Officials with the National Weather Service said peak tsunami wave heights of 1 to 2 feet were expected, the San Francisco Chronicle reported. The agency said that the main impacts are expected to be strong rip currents, coastal flooding, and a possible inundation of low-lying areas.

The waves were expected to hit the Monterey area at 7:35 a.m. PST, corresponding with its high tide at 8:05 a.m, and San Francisco around 8:10 a.m. PST, corresponding with high tide at 9:09 a.m., according to the newspaper.

Update 10:25 a.m. EST Jan. 15: According to the National Weather Service, the arrival time for any tsunami waves in Orange County, California, is 7:50 a.m. PST, The Orange County Register reported. The agency advised people to move off the beach and harbors and marinas, and to not go to the coast to watch.

The Orange County Sherriff’s Department sent out a public safety phone alert at 7:18 a.m. PST about the advisory, announcing that Orange County beaches and harbors are closed, the newspaper reported.

Original report: An advisory was issued in Hawaii, but the Pacific Tsunami Warning Center said no major tsunami is expected, Hawaii News Now reported.

However, sea level changes and strong currents are possible along all of the state’s coasts, the news outlet reported.

According to the National Weather Service National Tsunami Warning Center in Palmer, Alaska, a tsunami advisory remains in effect for the coastal areas of California, Oregon, Washington, British Columbia and Alaska from the California-Mexico border to Attu, Alaska.

Footage on social media showed waves hitting homes on the shore after the Hunga Tonga-Hunga Haʻapai volcano spewed ash, steam and gas, the Post reported. The ash was thrown up to 12 miles into the air, according to Tonga Geological Services.

There were no immediate reports of injuries or the extent of the damage, according to The Associated Press. Communications with the small island, which is home to about 105,000 people, remained problematic. Video posted on social media showed large waves crashing onshore in coastal areas, according to the AP.

A second eruption hit the area Saturday at 5:26 p.m. local time, CNN reported, citing the Radio New Zealand news organization.

Australia’s Bureau of Meteorology said it recorded a tsunami wave of about 4 feet near Nuku’alofa at 5:30 p.m. local time on Saturday.

An initial warning for the U.S. territory of American Samoa was lifted, the Post reported. Fiji also issued an advisory for residents to avoid the area, according to the newspaper.


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