The National Weather Service has issued a tsunami advisory for several West Coast states after a violent volcanic eruption in the South Pacific.
Residents of Hawaii, California, Oregon, Washington and southern Alaska were advised to “be alert and follow instructions from local emergency officials,” and to stay away from coastal areas early Saturday.
The advisory follows an undersea volcanic eruption near Tonga.
Satellite imagery captured the enormous eruption which sent a plume of ash over the Pacific.
Social media posts showed large groups crashing ashore in Tonga early Saturday after the eruption. There were no reports of injuries initially. The extent of damage is unknown as communications were cut off from the small island nation.
New Zealand’s military is monitoring the situation.
Hawaii began experiencing high groups early Saturday, reaching up to 2.7 feet in Hanalei and Maui — just under the threshold to cause a tsunami warning.
“The important thing here is the first wave may not be the largest. We could see this play out for several hours,” Dan Snider, tsunami warning coordinator for the National Tsunami Warning Center in Palmer, Alaska told the Associated Press. “It looks like everything will stay below the warning level but it’s difficult to predict because this is a volcanic eruption and we’re set up to measure earthquake or seismic-pushed sea groups.”
—This story includes wire reports.
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