The National Tsunami Warning Center issued a tsunami advisory for the Oregon and Washington coasts Saturday morning after a large underwater volcano erupted near a South Pacific island.
It happened around 8:30 p.m. Friday near Tonga, triggering tsunami warnings for the island and advisories for New Zealand, Oregon, Washington, Alaska and Hawaii.
1.14.2021: Large volcanic eruption near Tonga (Hunga Tonga-Hunga Ha’apai volcano) today seen from space. Shown on visible imagery using the Himawari satellite. #hiwx #tsunami #earthquake pic.twitter.com/zOTj6Qu1Wv
—NWS Honolulu (@NWS Honolulu) January 15, 2022
NWS Portland says they are expecting 1-3 foot waves along the Oregon Coast Saturday morning. They urge people to avoid beaches and harbors until the advisory is lifted.
Here is the wave timing for the Oregon Coast, according to NWS:
- Newport, OR – 8:30 a.m.
- Long Beach, Washington – 8:35 a.m.
- Seaside, Oregon – 8:45 a.m.
The NWS warns that the first wave may not be the highest. NWS meteorologist Colby Newman told FOX 12 that the high waves could last a few hours, and these waves are different — they’re more “energized” and powerful, Newman says.
#Tsunami Advisories in effect along the Pacific coast. Visitors are urged to stay off the beaches this morning following a volcanic eruption in the South Pacific. This video taken in #Manzanita, Oregon at 9 a.m. #oregoncoast @fox12oregon @GrayTelevision pic.twitter.com/1UMDSsRV87
—Pete Ferryman (@PeteFerryman) January 15, 2022
Tsunami advisories and warnings are rare on the west coast. FOX 12 Chief Meteorologist Mark Nelsen said the last time we had a major tsunami was in 2011, when a major earthquake struck off the coast of Japan.
In Tonga, video posted on social media showed large waves washing up in coastal areas, swirling around homes and buildings.
There were no immediate reports of injuries or the extent of the damage as all internet connection with Tonga was lost around 6:40 p.m. local time, said Doug Madory, director of internet analytics for the company. Kentik network intelligence.
In Hawaii, the Pacific Tsunami Warning Center reported waves measuring half a meter (1.6 feet) at Nawiliwili, Kauai and 80 centimeters (2.7 feet) at Hanalei. The National Weather Service said there were reports of boats being pushed into docks, but the danger was diminishing.
More information on the tsunami advisory in effect for the West Coast of the United States, including Oregon. Avoid the beach, ports and marinas until further notice. pic.twitter.com/g7HCx6xrXb
— Drew Reeves (@DrewReevesTV) January 15, 2022
“We are relieved that no damage was reported and only minor flooding on the islands,” the tsunami center said, describing the situation in Hawaii.
The volcano is located about 40 miles north of the capital, Nuku’alofa. In late 2014 and early 2015, a series of eruptions in the area created a new small island and disrupted international air travel to the Pacific archipelago for several days.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
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