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Warnings about tsunamis in Japan and the Pacific Islands from Tonga volcano eruption

Warnings about tsunamis in Japan and the Pacific Islands from Tonga volcano eruption

Jan 15 (Reuters). – An underwater volcano off Tonga erupted last Saturday, triggering tsunami warnings, evacuation orders, and tsunami warnings in Japan. Large waves also swept across several South Pacific islands, where footage posted on social media showed large waves crashing into coastal homes.

Japan’s meteorological office issued tsunami warnings in early hours of Sunday. They warned that waves could reach three metres (9.84 feet), in the Amami Islands in the south. Waves greater than a metre were also recorded earlier.

NHK, the public broadcaster of NHK, reported no injuries or casualties. NHK interrupted its regular programming in order to report on the tsunami advisory that spanned the entire eastern coast. Japanese archipelagoIssued by the country’s weather agency.

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A Japan Meteorological Agency official advised people not to swim near the ocean until the tsunami advisory and other serious tsunami warnings have been lifted. The warnings, which were the most severe in five years, focused on a number of areas.

He said that the sea level changes observed were not consistent with tsunamis after earthquakes.

He stated that “we don’t know yet whether these waves are actually tsunami.”

Following the eruption of the Hunga Tonga Ha’apai underwater volcano at 0410 GMT, tsunami waves were seen in Tonga’s capital as well as American Samoa’s capital.

According to Australia’s Bureau of Meteorology, the volcano was located 65 km (40 mi) north of Nuku’alofa and caused a 1.2-metre (4-foot) tsunami.

The bureau stated it was still monitoring the situation and that no tsunami threat has been issued to Australia’s mainland, islands, or territories.

An image taken by the NOAA Goes-West satellite at 05:00 GMT on January 15, 2022 shows the eruption of an underwater volcano off Tonga that triggered a tsunami warning for several South Pacific islands. CIRA/NOAA/Handout via REUTERS

Tsunami waves of 83cm (2.7 feet) were measured by gauges in Nuku’alofa, Tongan capital. Two-foot waves could be seen at Pago Pagogo, capital of American Samoa.

Fiji issued a tsunami alert, warning residents to avoid the beaches “due to strong currents or dangerous waves”.

Jese Tuisinu is a television reporter for Fiji One. He posted a Twitter video showing large waves crashing onto the shore, with people trying desperately to escape in their cars.

He said, “It is literally black in parts of Tonga, and people are running to safety after the eruption.”

There were no immediate reports on casualties.

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New Zealand’s emergency management agency issued an advisory regarding tsunami activity on its north and east coasts. This included warnings about strong currents and unpredictable surges that could affect shorelines along those areas.

Tonga Geological Services stated in a Facebook post that the volcano sent ash and steam up to 20 kilometers (12 miles) into space on Friday. Its radius is 260km (160 miles).

The Pacific Tsunami Warning Center in Honolulu stated that a tsunami advisory was also in place for the U.S. Pacific coast.

According to the National Weather Service, tsunami waves were expected along the Oregon coast and southern Washington coast. Higher waves were earlier reported in Alaska and Hawaii.

The San Francisco Bay Area, northern California, saw small areas of Berkeley and Albany evacuated.

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Reporting by Shubham Kali in Bengaluru, Renju Jose Sydney and Chang-Ran Kim Tokyo
Valerie Volcovici, Washington: Additional reporting
Editing by Muralikumar Anantharaman and Marguerita Choy. Helen Popper

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