A tsunami derived from the eruption of an underwater volcano in Tonga hit the west coast of the United States and Canada on Saturday, with waves that at least one case exceeded one meter in height and caused minor flooding in the California part.
«A massive volcanic eruption has occurred on Tonga Island of Tonga. This event is extremely dangerous for those on and near the area closest to the eruption«, it said shortly before 11:00 a.m. in that area (19:00 GMT) the US Tsunami Warning Service on its official Twitter account.
A massive volcanic eruption has occurred on Tonga Island of Tonga. This event is extremely dangerous for those on and near the area closest to the eruption. A tsunami has been generated that we are closely monitoring as it crosses the Pacific.https://t.co/yVNo4MDqM7
— NWS PTWC (@NWS_PTWC) January 15, 2022
The impact took place despite the fact that the Californian coast is located almost 8,700 kilometers from the island nation of Tonga, in the South Pacific, where the volcanic eruption occurred. Also, the Pacific coast of Japan was hit early this Sunday.
The tsunami caused «light flooding» in the port of Santa Cruz, California, where beaches were closed and people were evacuated from commercial areas near the coast, although no one was forced to leave their homes, city Manager Elizabeth Smith told CNN.
There was also «expected to produce potentially catastrophic damage» near the beach in Port San Luis, where the highest waves were recorded, the Los Angeles division of the National Weather Service (NWS) said in a tweet.
Life-threatening storm surge with large & dangerous waves is expected to produce potentially catastrophic damage from San Luis Pass,TX, to the Mouth of the MS River, including areas inside the Port Arthur Hurricane Flood Protection system. It is critical to heed evacuation orders pic.twitter.com/Q7iPyb9yUK
— National Weather Service (@NWS) August 26, 2020
In Berkeley (California), some 110 people were evacuated from ships and docks in the coastal area, according to local media Berkeleyside; and most of the beaches in the south of the state were closed due to the alert.
On the other hand, the Chilean coasts were also hit by a tsunami with waves of almost two meters in the north. The largest waves were felt in some cities in the north of the country such as Iquique and Atacama, where there were slight floods, as confirmed by the Hydrographic and Oceanographic Service of the Chilean Navy (SHOA).
«We are concerned because there are many people on the coastline and now the priority is to safeguard the lives of the people who are in the sector«, said SHOA Admiral Leonardo Chávez.
🔴 AHORA | Balance ONEMI
"Estamos preocupados porque hay mucha gente en los bordes costeros y ahora la prioridad es salvaguardar la vida de la gente que está en el sector", dice el almirante Leonardo Chávez del SHOA
▶️ https://t.co/sxtxAeHO4e pic.twitter.com/RnsyPBQ1WZ
— Tele13 Radio (@Tele13_Radio) January 15, 2022
The waves have also hit part of the Vanua Levu island, in northeastern Fiji, while the Samoan authorities have issued an alert for possible rising waters.