A tsunami hit the coast of the island of Tonga on Saturday, in the South Pacific, with no casualties reported so far and after registering a violent volcanic eruption.
The large waves hit houses and buildings located on the beachfront and quickly flooded the surrounding area., according to videos posted on social networks by witnesses who had taken refuge on the roof of their houses.
Local authorities have issued a tsunami warning for the entire country after the eruption of the submarine volcano Hunga-Tonga-Hunga-Ha’apai, about 65 kilometers from the island of Tongatapu, the main one of this insular nation populated by about 71 thousand inhabitants.
According to witnesses, the volcano erupted at 5:20 p.m. local time. (4.20 GMT) and released a huge cloud of ash into the air. Images of the eruption were even captured by various satellites.
Waves have also hit part of Vanua Levu Island, in northeastern Fiji, while the Samoan authorities have issued an alert before a possible rise in waters.
The New Zealand Emergency Management Agency indicated on Twitter that they expect “strong currents and unusual unpredictable swells” on the north and east coast of the North Island and the Chatham Islands of the oceanic country.
The Tonga Meteorological Service posted on its Facebook profile a shocking satellite image of the cloud caused by the underwater volcano, which already showed signs of increased activity on the eve and that also momentarily triggered the tsunami warning.
The authorities have asked the entire population settled on the coasts go to high areas to shelter from the onslaught of the waves and wear masks in the rain of ash.
For its part, and as a result of the tsunami in Tonga, In the United States, the Tsunami Warning Service, belonging to the National Office of Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), which includes the National Hurricane Center, the NWS, lA tsunami warning was issued in the last hours on the west coast of the country.
The notice affects the states of Hawaii, California, Oregon, Washington, and Alaska. In any case, the expected waves would not exceed two feet (just over half a meter).
According to the notice, impact arrival times would begin in California at 07:35 a.m. Pacific Time (15:00 GMT) and would end around ten in the morning on the coast of Washington state.