Tonga issues tsunami warning after volcano erupts in Pacific Ocean

Scared Tongans fled to higher ground on Saturday after a massive volcanic eruption that struck four-foot waves off the island nation’s shores in as many days as the region’s second tsunami.

A ‘violent’ underwater volcanic eruption in the Pacific at 5.10 p.m. local time was confirmed as the cause of the tsunami, which affected homes, buildings, fences, roads and cars in Tonga about 20 minutes later.

Locals urged people to ‘pray for us’ as the blast was compared to ‘detonation of bombs’, which was followed by a tsunami.

The explosion could be heard thousands of kilometers away and warnings were issued in New Zealand, Fiji, American Samoa and Australia.

Satellite images show a 3-mile-wide plume rising about 12 miles into the air.

Dramatic official aerial maps show the eruption cloud over Tonga after the Hunga-Tonga-Hunga-Hapai volcano erupted (Saturday’s Pacific Ocean volcanic eruption images, satellite images)

Image: Satellite imagery shows the underwater explosion (left).  The images show a 3 mile wide plume in the air about 12 miles .  appears to be increasing

Image: Satellite imagery shows the underwater explosion (left). The images show a 3 mile wide plume in the air about 12 miles . appears to be increasing

The explosion (pictured from a satellite) could be heard thousands of kilometers away and warnings were issued in New Zealand, Fiji and American Samoa.

The explosion (pictured from a satellite) could be heard thousands of kilometers away and warnings were issued in New Zealand, Fiji and American Samoa.

Australia’s Bureau of Meteorology tweeted, ‘Tsunami wave of 1.2 m has been observed in Nukualofa.’ The maximum tsunami wave recorded after Friday’s explosion was 30 cm.

Tonga Meteorological Services said a tsunami warning was in effect for the whole of Tonga, which is home to about 105,000 people.

There were no immediate reports of injuries or the extent of damage as communication with the small nation remained problematic.

Officials in Suva said the explosion was so intense that it was heard as a ‘strong thunder’ in Fiji more than 500 miles away.

officers fiji It also issued a warning to the people to avoid the shoreline due to strong currents and dangerous waves. Fiji officials also warned residents to cover water collection tanks in case acid rain falls.

Victoria Kioa of the Tonga Public Service Commission said on Friday that people should “stay away from the warning areas which are low-lying coastal areas, reefs and beaches.”

Tonga Geological Services chief Tanila Kula urged people to stay indoors, wear masks when outside, and cover rainwater reservoirs and rainwater harvesting systems.

The Pacific Tsunami Warning Center issued a ‘tsunami advisory’ for American Samoa, saying there is a ‘risk of sea level fluctuations and strong ocean currents that could be a hazard along the coasts’.

A tsunami has hit Tonga, leaving panic-stricken locals rushing to higher ground as huge waves crash into streets and homes (pictured, tsunami waves begin to sink coastal homes in Tonga on Saturday)

A tsunami has hit Tonga, leaving panic-stricken locals rushing to higher ground as huge waves crash into streets and homes (pictured, tsunami waves begin to sink coastal homes in Tonga on Saturday)

Locals took to social media to share dramatic videos of waves landing and hitting homes and cars

Locals had little warning as huge waves hit the shore

Locals took to social media to share dramatic videos of rising waves crashing through homes and cars (pictured, images from a video filmed in Tonga and posted on social media on Saturday)

The island business news site reported that a convoy of police and military troops escorted King Taupo VI of Tonga from his palace near the shore as residents headed for higher ground.

Hunga Tonga The eruption of the Hunga Haapai volcano was the latest in a series of spectacular eruptions.

My gift said she was getting ready for dinner at her house when the volcano erupted.

‘It was huge, the ground was shaking, our house was shaking. It came in waves. Taufa told Stuff News website that my younger brother thought that bombs were exploding nearby.

He said that after a few minutes their house was flooded and he saw that the wall of the neighbor’s house had collapsed.

‘We knew immediately it was a tsunami. Only water is flowing in our house.

‘You could hear screams everywhere, people screaming for safety, so that everyone could reach the top.’

A Twitter user identified as Dr Faka’ilotonga Toumofolou posted a video of the waves crashing into the sea.

He wrote in a later post, ‘Can literally hear the volcanic eruption, sounds very violent: ‘Rashes of rain and small pebbles, the sky is dark.

Earlier, the Matangi Tonga news site reported that scientists had observed massive eruptions, thunder and lightning after the volcano erupted on Friday.

Satellite images show a three-mile-wide plume of ash, steam and gas rising about 12 miles into the air, the site said.

More than 1,400 miles away in New Zealand, officials warned of storm surge from the eruption.

The National Emergency Management Agency said some parts could expect “strong and unusual currents and unexpected surges along the coast after a large volcanic eruption”.

Late Saturday, the Pacific Tsunami Warning Center said the threat to American Samoa had passed, although minor sea fluctuations could continue.

Hunga Tonga-Hunga Haapai Volcano is located on an uninhabited island about 40 miles north of the Tongan capital Nuku’alofa.

In late 2014 and early 2015, a series of eruptions in the area created a small island and disrupted international air travel to the Pacific Islands for several days.

,