An huge undersea volcano erupted about 65km (40 miles) from the capital of Tonga yesterday, sending large currents and prompting tsunami advisories across the South Pacific and the US. People were forced to flee their homes in the Pacific island nation while streets and buildings flooded, as tsunami waves crashed into Tonga’s main island of Tongatapu.
A tsunami advisory was issued for the west coast of the US, the National Weather Service’s tsunami warning centre confirmed. The alert covers areas stretching from southern California to Alaska and also warned of up to 1m waves along the Washington and Oregon coast. A sonic boom could be heard as far away as Alaska.
Last night experts said the situation was improving. Dave Snider, the tsunami warning coordinator for the National Tsunami Warning Center in Palmer, Alaska, said he anticipated the tsunami situation in the US and elsewhere to continue improving.
An advisory means that strong currents and dangerous waves are imminent and people should stay out of the water. New Zealand’s emergency management agency issued an advisory on tsunami activity for its north and east coasts stating that some parts of the nation could expect “strong and unusual currents and unpredictable surges at the shore following a large volcanic eruption”.
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