Outsiders on the West Coast and in Alaska are in our thoughts today as a tsunami advisory has reportedly been issued in both areas. According to ABC News, the National Tsunami Warning Center issued the advisories following an undersea volcano erupting near Tonga. The advisories currently include the entire coast of California as well as parts of Washington, Oregon, and Alaska. Even Canada’s British Columbia is on alert.
Now, a tsunami advisory is different than a tsunami warning. At this time, there is no indication of a major tsunami event headed toward the coastal communities. However, the advisory means certain conditions are still possible. For example, the threat of strong currents and/or waves remains. And these waves could prove to be dangerous– or even fatal– for those in the water.
Unlike coastal California and the Southern tip of Alaska, Japan’s Meteorological Agency issued a tsunami warning for several islands and island chains. This means a greater threat. Here, experts have already reported waves nearly 4 feet high as of this morning.
This is a developing story, and news from Tonga remains scarce.
Shocking Satellite Imagery Shows the Extent of the Eruption
The news continues to circulate around Twitter, where people are also sharing high-resolution satellite imagery of the underwater eruption. One US Stormwatch account has already referred to the event as “one of the most violent volcano eruptions ever captured on satellite.”
According to one storm chaser, the shocks traveled thousands of miles. He tweeted:
“The Hunga Tonga volcano eruption was so powerful that it has sent a shockwave/pressure wave thousands of miles across the globe. My weather station in San Carlos, California, over 5,000 miles away, recorded the wave around 4 AM as it pushed east across the United States.”
You can see some of the massive shockwaves here:
High-resolution Himawari satellite imagery of the #HungaTongaHungaHaapai volcanic eruption in Tonga 🌋— NIWA Weather (@NiwaWeather) January 15, 2022
Our climate stations recorded a brief spike in air pressure as the atmospheric shock wave pulsed across New Zealand. pic.twitter.com/BfLzdq6i57
News Out of Tonga Remains Scarce
When the Hunga Tonga-Hunga Haʻapai volcano erupted, it reportedly sent ash, steam, and gas as high up as 10.5 miles into the air. Internet access and communication lines are said to have been affected by the blast. Heavy ash in the immediate area has also reportedly begun to affect travel visibility and breathing.
New Zealand’s National Emergency Management Agency continues to monitor the situation and has urged people to stay away from the water/beaches. They expect strong and unusual currents in the area as well as unpredictable surges on the shore.
Outsider’s thoughts are with all those affected. We will continue to provide timely updates as they roll in.