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A tsunami has hit Tonga's capital Nuku'alofa after an eruption from an undersea volcano. Sea-level gauges recorded waves measuring two feet in height at the capital of the US territory of American Samoa. The surge wave reached a height of 80 centimetres (31 inches), according to the Us-based Pacific Tsunami Warning Center, citing sea level monitoring data.
BREAKING: Satellite image captures Tonga's Hunga volcano erupting
(Source: @US_Stormwatch) pic.twitter.com/VolrJs7Gfi— The Spectator Index (@spectatorindex) January 15, 2022
Other Pacific islands were also issued advisories and residents have been advised to seek higher ground. Fiji issued a tsunami warning, telling residents to avoid shorelines "due to strong currents and dangerous waves."
More than 2,000 kilometers away, New Zealand's National Emergency Management Agency has said that parts of the country could expect "strong and unusual currents and unpredictable surges at the shore."
Local news site The Matangi Tonga reported that massive explosions, and thundering lightning had greeted an observer team, working 3.2km off Hunga Tonga Hunga Ha'apai eruption on Friday. The site said satellite images showed a 5km (3 mile) wide plume of ash, steam and gas rising up into the air to about 20km (12 miles).
Social media feeds from Tonga have been full of on-the-spot reports on flooding and, prior to that, the volcanic eruption. Twitter user Dr Faka’iloatonga Taumoefolau posted a video of the waves, and in a later post, said: “Raining ash and tiny pebbles, darkness blanketing the sky.”
Ayer sobre #Tonga.ðÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂ¹ðÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂ´ðÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂ
Nube de la erupción del volcán #HungaTongaHungaHaapai desde la Estación Espacial Internacional. ðÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂ°ï¸ÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂ https://t.co/HRKZ6ECs4L— Alejandro S. Méndez âÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂï¸ÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂ (@asalmendez) January 15, 2022
It is literally dark in parts of Tonga and people are rushing to safety following the eruption. ðÂÂÂÂÂÂ¹ðÂÂÂÂÂÂ´ pic.twitter.com/7NoP0y9GCo— Jese Tuisinu (@JTuisinu) January 15, 2022
Stay safe everyone ðÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂ¹ðÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂ´ pic.twitter.com/OhrrxJmXAW— Dr Faka’iloatonga Taumoefolau (@sakakimoana) January 15, 2022
Raining ash and tiny pebbles, darkness blanketing the sky. pic.twitter.com/hAaiWATYKE— Dr Faka’iloatonga Taumoefolau (@sakakimoana) January 15, 2022
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