Tsunami advisory in effect for U.S. West Coast after volcanic eruption: “Move away from the shore and head to high ground”

A tsunami advisory is in effect for the west coast of the United States and Alaska after a volcanic eruption in the Pacific Ocean. “There is a Tsunami in progress,” say the… National Weather Service’s National Tsunami Warning Center said: on Saturday.

“Get away from the coast and go to higher ground,” it said, warning that the first wave may not be the largest.

A tsunami advice – meaning “there is a dangerous wave on its way– was issued for the following areas, extending from Southern California to the Alaskan coastline, according to the alert center:

  • The California coast from the California-Mexico border to the Oregon-California border, including San Francisco Bay.
  • The Oregon Coast from the Oregon-California border to the Oregon-Washington border, including the Columbia River estuary coast.
  • The outer coast of Washington state, from the Oregon-Washington border to Slip Point, the mouth of the Columbia River, and the coast of the Juan de Fuca Strait.
  • The north coast of British Columbia, and Haida Gwaii, the central coast and northeast of Vancouver Island, the outer west coast of Vancouver Island, the coast of Juan de Fuca Strait.
  • The inner and outer coast of Southeast Alaska from the BC-Alaska border to Cape Fairweather, Alaska.
  • Southern Alaska and the Alaska Peninsula: Pacific Coasts from Cape Fairweather, Alaska, to Unimak Pass, Alaska.
  • Aleutian Islands: Unimak Pass, Alaska, to Attu, Alaska, including the Pribilof Islands.

An advisory was also issued for Hawaii after a submarine volcano erupted near the Pacific nation of Tonga on Saturday. It was canceled later, after wave heights in the state began to decline.

“Small sea level changes, strong or unusual currents can persist for several hours in some coastal and suitable coastal areas and caution should be exercised by boaters and swimmers,” the Pacific Tsunami Warning Center tweeted.

Tonga volcanic eruption
This satellite image, taken by Himawari-8, a Japanese weather satellite, shows a submarine volcanic eruption near the Pacific nation of Tonga on January 15, 2022.

Japan Meteorology Agency via AP

The California Governor’s Office of Emergency Services said tsunami heights there were expected to be 1-2 feet, based on what was seen in Hawaii. Later, flooding was reported near the port of Santa Cruz and some residents were evacuated. Officials also said more than 100 people evacuated the Berkeley Marina, CBS SF Bay Area reports.

In Alaska, the largest tsunami was seen from mid-morning at King Cove – 2.8 feet, according to the tsunami warning center.

Washington saw tsunami waves of less than a foot, but forecasters warned that later waves could be larger.

“Tsunami advisory remains in effect off the coast of Washington and the Strait of Juan de Fuca, where waves of 1 to 3 ft are likely,” the National Weather Service in Seattle tweeted. “That said, strong waves and currents cannot be ruled out for any part of WA’s coastlines, including the Puget Sound & Salish Sea.”

According to Doug Madory, director of internet analytics for network intelligence firm Kentik, all internet connectivity to Tonga was down in Tonga on Saturday night, The Associated Press reported. According to the Tonga Meteorological Services, a tsunami warning has been issued for the entire archipelago and 2.7 foot waves have been detected, according to data from the Pacific Tsunami Warning Center, the AP said.

Live-aboards along the US coast were urged to seek shelter.

A tsunami advisory is a level below a warning — and a step above a watch. It means dangerous waves of 1-3 feet and strong currents are expected.

“Remember, a tsunami probably doesn’t look like a classic ‘breaking wave’; it’s more like a huge wave of water that can rise quickly and with great force,” said the Hawaii Emergency Management Agency.

The tsunami warning center said some impacts could “last for many hours to days after the first wave arrives”. Subsequent waves can be larger than any initial wave, and “each wave can last from 5 to 45 minutes as a wave penetrates and recedes,” the alert center said.

Signs of a tsunami include strong currents, a coastline that has receded or receded rapidly, and unusual waves and sounds. “The tsunami can appear as water moving rapidly out to sea, a gentle rising tide like a high tide without a breaking wave, as a series of breaking waves or a frothy wall of water,” the National Tsunami Warning Center said.

Dave Snider, tsunami warning coordinator for the tsunami warning center in Palmer, Alaska, said it is not an “everyday experience” to issue an advisory for this length of coastline. “I’m not sure when the last time was,” he said.

“I hope that increases the importance and seriousness for our citizens.”


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