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Urgent tsunami warning issued for Washington, Oregon and Alaska coasts after underwater volcano erupts near Tonga


AN urgent tsunami warning covering Washington, Oregon and Alaska has been issued after an underwater volcano erupted near Tonga.

Warnings have also been issued for the island nation, New Zealand’s North island and Canada’s British Columbia.

EPA

The eruption was so large it could be seen from space[/caption]

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration

The tsunami warning covers Washington, Oregon and Alaska[/caption]

Dave Snider, Tsunami Warning Coordinator at the National Tsunami Warning Center in Palmer, Alaska, told CNN: “We have seen the wave moving through Hawaiian Island.”

The wave, estimated to be between one to two feet high is predicted to hit the California coast some time between 7am and 7.30am PT.

Snider added: “We don’t have a really good forecast because this event is based on a volcano rather than earthquake.”

According to New Zealand’s National Emergency Management Agency, “strong and unusual currents and unpredictable surges at the shore” are expected.

It said its weather stations had observed “a pressure surge” Saturday evening, following the eruption.


Scientist Emily Lane, of New Zealand’s National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research, told the New Zealand Science Media Centre that it was a “very significant” eruption.

“The shock wave from it is clearly visible in satellite imagery and there are reports of the eruption being heard at least as far away as New Zealand,” she said. “The tsunami from the eruption has reached over 2,500 km being recorded on gauges over all of Aotearoa.”

According to Lane, tsunamis caused by volcanoes are much less common than tsunamis from underwater earthquakes.

The eruption yesterday was so large it could be seen from space and triggered an alarming tsunami.

Waves of 2.7ft swept through the streets of the Pacific nation as locals scrambled to higher ground after the “violent” eruption of the Hunga Tonga-Hunga Ha’apai volcano.

The eruption was so intense it was heard as “loud thunder sounds” in Fiji more than 500 miles away, officials said.

Horrifying satellite images from space showed the huge eruption, which lasted at least eight minutes and sent plumes of gas, ash and smoke several miles into the air.

The Tonga Meteorological Services said a tsunami warning was in effect for all of Tonga as the island’s capital lies just 65km north of the volcano.

AP

The eruption near Tonga was heard 500 miles away in Fiji[/caption]

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