No damage to California coast by tsunami after Tonga volcanic eruption

Los Angeles:  A day after there was no report of damage to the California coast by tsunami triggered by an undersea volcano that erupted in Tonga.

California, Oregon, and Washington state, as well as parts of Hawaii, south Alaska and the Aleutian islands were all expected to also be affected by the huge eruption, the National Tsunami Warning Center said in a bulletin.

Tsunami waves of 2.7 feet (about 83 centimetres) were observed by gauges at the Tongan capital of Nuku’alofa and waves of 2 feet at Pago Pago, the capital of American Samoa, a US territory, the Pacific Tsunami Warning Center said.

The agency later canceled warnings for American Samoa and Hawaii, but said the tsunami remained a threat for parts of the Pacific nearer the volcano, warning residents living near beaches, harbors, marinas and other coastal areas should move away from the shore and make their way inland or uphill, Xinhua news agency reported.

“The Hunga Tonga volcano eruption was so powerful that it has sent a shockwave or 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 a.m. as it pushed east across the US,” US StormWatch tweeted Saturday morning.

Several beaches and marinas from Orange county in Southern California to the Bay area were temporarily closed as a precaution to strong currents which were expected in harbors and bays for several hours.

The Berkeley Fire Department in Northern California ordered a “mandatory evacuation” of the marina area Saturday morning, warning of waves of up to 3 feet by 7:30 a.m. local time.

The San Luis Obispo County Office of Emergency Services warned Saturday morning of the tsunami advisory. During an advisory, people are asked to stay out of the water and away from the shore because of “strong currents and dangerous waves.”

The Orange county Sheriff’s Department said in an advisory that although major flooding was not expected, the tsunami could produce dangerous currents and tidal surges through the day that would make swimming hazardous.

“If you plan to go to beach on Saturday, I don’t recommend you do that,” said NBCLA forecaster Shanna Mendiola.

“The currents are going to be strong.” She added that the advisory is in place until the “all clear” is given by the National Tsunami Warning Center.


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