Wellington, New Zealand (AP) — On Saturday, a submarine volcano erupted spectacularly near the Pacific country of Tonga, a large tsunami crashed across the coast, and people rushed to high ground. Tsunami recommendations were implemented in Hawaii and the Pacific coast of the United States.
There were no immediate reports of injuries or extent of damage due to loss of contact with the small country for several hours after the eruption.
In Hawaii, the Pacific Tsunami Warning Center reported waves rushing from 0.5 meters (1 ft) in Nawiliwili, Kauai to 80 centimeters (2.7 feet) in Hanalei.
In Tonga, a video posted on social media saw large waves drifting along the coast and swirling around homes and buildings.
The New Zealand Army said it was monitoring the situation, was on standby and was ready to assist if requested.
Satellite images showed a huge eruption, a mushroom-rising ash, steam, and gas eruption over the blue Pacific Ocean.
According to the Tonga Meteorological Service, tsunami warnings have been issued in all islands, and data from the Pacific Tsunami Warning Center have detected waves of 80 centimeters (2.7 feet).
Residents of American Samoa were warned of tsunami warnings by local broadcasters and church bells ringing throughout the region. The outdoor siren warning system could not be used. People living along the coastline quickly moved to higher ground.
At dawn, no damage was reported and the Hawaii-based tsunami center canceled the warning.
Authorities in neighboring island nations Fiji and Samoa have also issued warnings, telling people to avoid the coastline due to strong tides and dangerous waves. According to the Japan Meteorological Agency, there is a possibility that the water may be slightly swollen in the coastal areas of Japan, but there was no damage.
An island business news site reported that police and military convoys evacuated Tupou VI in Tonga from a palace near the coast. He was one of the many inhabitants heading to the hills.
The explosion at Hunga Tonga Hunga Haapai Volcano was the latest in a series of epic eruptions.
A Twitter user identified as Dr. Faka’iloatonga Taumoefolau posted a video showing how the waves land.
“You can literally hear the eruption of a volcano and it sounds pretty violent,” he wrote, adding in a later post: “Rainy ashes and tiny pebbles, darkness covers the sky.”
Earlier, Matangitonga news sites reported that scientists observed large-scale explosions, lightning, and lightning near the volcano after the volcano began to erupt early on Friday. Satellite images show that a 5 km (3 mile) wide plume has risen into the air to about 20 km (12 miles).
More than 2,300 kilometers (1,400 miles) away in New Zealand, authorities warned of high tides from the eruption.
The National Emergency Management Agency said that in some parts of New Zealand, “strong and anomalous currents and unpredictable surges on the coast after a major volcanic eruption” are expected.
The volcano is about 64 km (40 miles) north of the capital Nuku’alofa. From late 2014 to early 2015, a series of eruptions in the region created a small new island and interrupted international air travel to the Pacific Islands for several days.
About 105,000 people live in Tonga.
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Volcano erupts in the Pacific Ocean on the west coast under tsunami recommendations
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