Tsunami waves hit Tonga after volcanic eruption

·1 min read

An undersea volcano erupted near the Pacific nation of Tonga on Saturday, triggering tsunami waves across the shore, AP reports.

Driving the news: There were no immediate reports of injuries or death and the full extent of the damage remains unknown due to spotty communication with Tongatapu, the island that was hit, per AP.

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  • A tsunami warning has been issued for the islands of Tonga, where data from the Pacific Tsunami Warning Center has detected waves of 2.6 feet. Tsunami advisories have been issued as far as New Zealand's North Island.

  • Tsunami advisories have also been issued for the West Coast of the U.S. — spanning from the Oregon and California border to the California and Mexico border — and Hawaii, according to the Pacific Tsunami Warning Center.

State of play: The Hunga-Tonga-Hunga-Ha'apai volcano first erupted Friday, sending a plume of ash 12.4 miles into the air, Radio New Zealand reports.

  • There was a second eruption on Saturday at 5:26 p.m. local time, per RNZ.

  • It is the latest in a series of eruptions of the Hunga Tonga-Hunga Haʻapai volcano, which is about 40 miles north of the capital.

  • Tonga's King Tupou VI was evacuated from the Royal Palace after the tsunami flooded the capital Nuku'alofa, per RNZ.

Our thought bubble, via Axios' Andrew Freedman: Satellite imagery showed a towering plume of material, likely ash, water vapor and more, reaching at least 40,000 feet into the sky. This is indicative of an especially powerful eruption.

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