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Tsunami warnings were issued across the South Pacific on Friday. the Hunga-Tonga-Hunga-Ha’apai volcano erupted 18.6 miles Southeast of the Tonga island, Fonuafo’ou. The violent underwater volcano erupted again on Saturday, sending tsunamis to Japan, Hawaii, and Tongatapu.
Tonga is home to 105,000 residents. The extent of injuries and damage is widely unknown.
Volcanic ash and steam were seen as high as 12.4 miles above sea level. A severe wave flooded Tongatapu, and continued to pummel coastal roads and homes on Saturday. Residents headed for higher ground. Ash and steam reached 150 miles wide, therefore, it was easy to see from satellites. Shockwaves were felt all the way across the Pacific in Mount Hood, Oregon. Two hours before sunset, darkness fell over Tonga as the ash flew into the sky.
Tonga’s King Tupou VI was evacuated before waves swept the Royal Courtyard. He was rushed to a villa at Mata Ki Eua.
The volcanic explosion impacted the South Pacific, sending tsunami warnings from New Zealand and Japan to the United States and Canada. Early Sunday morning, a tsunami warning was issued for Japan. Multiple smaller tsunamis were seen throughout the South Pacific, according to local television.
The meteorological agency in Japan issued tsunami warnings for Amami island and the Tokara island chain in Kagoshima prefecture. Witnesses all over the South Pacific saw waves anywhere from two to nine feet high.
Waves between two and four feet high were seen on the West Coast of the United States. Evidence of the tsunami were seen in California and Alaska.
However, it is important to note that this event is not over yet. The underwater volcano is still erupting.
The warnings have been called off for the West Coast of the United States at this time, according to CNN.
Written by Jeanette Vietti
CNN: Tsunami advisories in effect for California and Japan as waves hit Tonga following volcanic eruption
NPR: A massive volcano erupts near Tonga, causing tsunami waves as far as the West Coast
Big Island Video News: Tsunami Advisory For Hawaiʻi After Tonga Eruption
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