Tsunami advisory for entire West Coast after underwater volcano erupts near Tonga

A satellite image of an underwater volcano eruption near Tonga. (National Weather Service)
A satellite image of an underwater volcano eruption near Tonga. (National Weather Service)

Residents of the Hawaii and the Pacific coast of the United States are waking up to a Tsunami advisory after an underwater volcano erupted off the coast of the Polynesian Kingdom of Tonga.

CNN is reporting a tsunami advisory is in effect Saturday morning for the states of California, Oregon, Washington and Alaska, according to the NWS National Tsunami Warning Center in Palmer, Alaska. The Center’s tsunami warning coordinator, Dave Snider, told CNN, the wave was seen moving through the Hawaiian islands early Saturday morning.

The one-to-two-foot wave should hit the West Coast between 7 and 7:30 am Pacific time, according to the report.

The National Weather Service Seattle issued a warning Saturday morning that residents living near the coast should avoid beaches, harbors and marinas.

“Strong currents and larger waves are possible along these coastal areas. The first wave may not be largest,” the agency said on Twitter. “Continue to stay out of the water and away from shore along the coastal areas and continue to monitor for updates.”

A tsunami has already hit Tonga’s largest island, Tongatapu, reportedly sending waves flooding into the capital, Nuku’alofa, where King Tupou VI was evacuated from the Royal Palace by a convoy of police and troops who rushed the monarch to a villa at Mata Ki Eua, according to CNN.

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Residents in Tongatapu headed for higher ground as waves swept the palace grounds, waterfront and Main Street.

The eruption, caught live by a satellite camera, sent a cloud of ash and gas steam into the air.

The live-action imagery captured a massive ash cloud and shockwaves spreading from the eruption.

The Hunga-Tonga-Hunga-Ha’apai volcano first erupted Friday, sending a plume of ash nearly 12-and-a-half miles into the air, according to the news network, before a second eruption hit on Saturday at 5:26 p.m. local time.

[CNN] — Vince DiMiceli

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