Tsunami advisory issued for Hawaii and entire West Coast

Tsunami surge strikes West Coast after passing Hawaii: Waves up to four feet cause coastal flooding and damage boats as daring surfers IGNORE warnings to stay out of the water

  • Tsunami advisory cancelled in Hawaii, remains in effect for the entire West Coast after massive eruption
  • 'If you are located in this coastal area, move off the beach and out of harbors and marinas,' NWS warns 
  • Strong currents and high waves hit California on Saturday morning, but inundation was not expected
  • It follows devastating eruption and tsunami in Tonga, island nation home to 105,000 people  
  • Authorities in nearby Fiji also issued a warning, telling people to the avoid shoreline due to strong currents
  • Dramatic video from Tonga showed huge waves crashing into homes and buildings, flooding the island
  • A convoy of police and military troops evacuated Tonga's King from his palace, it was reported earlier
  • Dramatic satellite images showed a three-mile wide plume rising into the air to about 12 miles

By Keith Griffith and Chris Jewers For Dailymail.Com and Wires

Published: 14:37, 15 January 2022 | Updated: 00:08, 16 January 2022

A tsunami has struck the West Coast of the United States after a massive undersea volcanic eruption triggered a 7.4 magnitude earthquake near Tonga.

'A tsunami is occurring. Remember - the first wave may not be the largest. Move away from the shore and head to high ground,' the National Weather Service said in a flash bulletin on Saturday.  

'If you are located in this coastal area, move off the beach and out of harbors and marinas.

Do not go to the coast to watch the tsunami. Be alert to instructions from your local emergency officials,' the agency warned. 

Waves of up to 4.1 feet were recorded in Port San Luis, and tsunami-effect waves were recorded along the coast in California, Oregon, Washington, British Columbia, and Alaska.  

Despite the dire warnings, spectators flocked to the beaches to view the surging tsunami waves, and surfers threw caution to the wind to catch the powerful waves generated by the surge. 

The initial tsunami wave hit Los Angeles around 7.45am PST and San Francisco at 8.10am PST, and was expected to last for several hours.

In Santa Cruz, video showed significant flooding near the harbor, with at least one vehicle caught in the surge.  

The tsunami advisory in Hawaii was cancelled shortly after 8am local time, after the surge passed through the area damaging some docked boats. There were no early reports of casualties from the islands.  

Officials said  widespread inundation is not expected, but rather coastal hazards such as rip currents and dangerous waves in harbors. Authorities caution that the first waves to strike may not be the highest waves experienced in an area.

'West Coast residents be prepared for impacts in bays and harbors.

Live-aboards seek shelter and high ground,' the NWS said in an alert. 

A car is caught in rising water at Santa Cruz Harbor on Saturday as tsunami flooding strikes low-lying areas

Tsunami advisory issued for Hawaii and entire West Coast

A surfer defies warnings to stay out of the water and catches a wave at Manhattan Beach in El Segundo, California Saturday

Tsunami advisory issued for Hawaii and entire West Coast

In Seal Beach, California, residents ignored warnings to stay away from the beach and flocked to the municipal pier to take pictures of the waves after a tsunami advisory was issued

Tsunami advisory issued for Hawaii and entire West Coast

Spectators flock to view waves from the Seal Beach municipal pier after a tsunami advisory was issued following an underwater volcano eruption around 5,300 miles away

Tsunami advisory issued for Hawaii and entire West Coast

A spectator records waves on her mobile phone, as a lifeguard truck patrols to clear lookie-loos from beaches that were closed after a tsunami advisory was issued

Tsunami advisory issued for Hawaii and entire West Coast

Large waves move in near Santa Cruz on Saturday.

Inundation is not expected, but a tsunami advisory means there could be dangerous currents and strong waves along the coast

Tsunami advisory issued for Hawaii and entire West Coast

Large waves are seen in San Mateo County at around 8.10am on Saturday as a tsunami moved ashore

Tsunami advisory issued for Hawaii and entire West Coast

Joggers stretch next to a tsunami hazard zone sign in El Segundo, California, on January 15, 2022.

The US National Weather Service issued tsunami advisories for the entire west coast of the United States following a massive volcanic eruption

Tsunami advisory issued for Hawaii and entire West Coast

On Saturday morning a tsunami advisory (orange) was in effect for Hawaii and the entire US Pacific seaboard, from the US/Mexico border all the way to the tip of Alaska's Aleutian Islands, after an undersea volcano erupted near Tonga

Tsunami advisory issued for Hawaii and entire West Coast

Dramatic official aerial maps showed the eruption cloud over Tonga after the Hunga-Tonga-Hunga-Ha'apai volcanco erupted (pictured, satellite images of the volcanic eruption in the Pacific Ocean on Saturday)

In Berkeley, California, police issued a mandatory evacuation order for anyone living aboard boats in the Berkeley Marina. 

'Tsunamis often arrive as a series of waves or surges which could be dangerous for many hours after the first wave arrival. The first tsunami wave or surge may not be the highest in the series,' the NWS warned.

Early on Saturday, Hawaii was already seeing tsunami wave activity of up to 2.7 feet, and there were reports of waves lifting boats out of the water onto docks, but no reports of inundation.

The mainland tsunami advisory extended from California's border with Mexico to Attu Island at the tip of Alaska's Aleutian Islands.  

In Tonga, the eruption sent large tsunami waves crashing across the shore and people rushing to higher ground.   

The 'violent' underwater volcanic eruption in the Pacific at 5.10pm local time - which was visible from space - was confirmed as the cause of the tsunami, which overwhelmed homes, buildings, fences, roads and cars in Tonga around 20 minutes later. 

Tsunami advisory issued for Hawaii and entire West Coast

Surfers grip their surf boards in the middle of a wave in Manhattan Beach, California, on Saturday in defiance of an advisory

Tsunami advisory issued for Hawaii and entire West Coast

An image from Japan's Himawari-8 satellite and released by the National Institute of Information and Communications (Japan) on January 15, 2022 shows the volcanic eruption that provoked a tsunami in Tonga

Tsunami advisory issued for Hawaii and entire West Coast

Tide Station Point Reyes near San Francisco recorded erratic waves slamming into shore as the tsunami struck

Tsunami advisory issued for Hawaii and entire West Coast

The Tide Station in Honolulu registered erratic waves approaching one meter, which threw boats up onto docks

Tsunami advisory issued for Hawaii and entire West Coast

Under a tsunami advisory, residents are warned to stay out of the water and away from beaches and marinas

Tsunami advisory issued for Hawaii and entire West Coast

In Tonga, an island group in the southern Pacific, locals pleaded for people to 'pray for us' as the Hunga Tonga Hunga Ha'apai volcanic eruption was compared to 'bombs going off' by those who heard it, followed by the tsunami surging ashore.

The Islands Business news site reported that a convoy of police and military troops evacuated Tonga's King Tupou VI from his palace near the shore. He was among the many residents who headed for higher ground. 

New Zealand's military said it was monitoring the situation and remained on standby, ready to assist if asked.

The eruption could be heard thousands of miles away and sparked warnings in New Zealand, Fiji, American Samoa and Australia, with several Australian offshore territories under threat, including Lord Howe Island, Norfolk Island and Macquarie Island, officials said. 

Residents of American Samoa were alerted of the tsunami warning by local broadcasters as well as church bells that rang territory-wide. 

An outdoor siren warning system was out of service.

Those living along the shoreline quickly moved to higher ground.

As night fell, there were no reports of any damage and the Hawaii-based tsunami center canceled the alert for American Samoa.

Authorities in the nearby island nations of Fiji and Samoa also issued warnings, telling people to avoid the shoreline due to strong currents and dangerous waves. 

The Japan Meteorological Agency said there may be a slight swelling of the water along the Japanese coasts, but it was not expected to cause any damage. 

Satellite images showed a huge eruption, a three-mile wide plume of ash, steam and gas rising like a mushroom about 12 above the blue Pacific waters. 

Tsunami advisory issued for Hawaii and entire West Coast

On Friday, a tsunami struck Tonga sending terrified locals fleeing for high ground as huge waves crashed over roads and into homes (pictured, tsunami waves begin to overwhelm coastal homes in Tonga on Saturday)

Tsunami advisory issued for Hawaii and entire West Coast Tsunami advisory issued for Hawaii and entire West Coast

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

Tsunami advisory issued for Hawaii and entire West Coast

Pictured: Satellite imagery shows the underwater explosion (left).

The images showed a 3 mile wide plume rising into the air to about 12 miles

Tsunami advisory issued for Hawaii and entire West Coast

In this satellite image taken by Himawari-8, a Japanese weather satellite, and released by the agency, shows an undersea volcano eruption at the Pacific nation of Tonga Saturday

'A 1.2 metre tsunami wave has been observed at Nukualofa,' Australia's Bureau of Meteorology tweeted. The maximum tsunami wave recorded following an explosion in the region on Friday was 30 centimetres.

The Tonga Meteorological Services said the tsunami warning was in effect for all of Tonga.

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

The eruption was so intense it was heard as 'loud thunder sounds' in Fiji more than 500 miles away, officials in Suva said.  

Victorina Kioa of the Tonga Public Service Commission said Friday that people should 'keep away from areas of warning which are low-lying coastal areas, reefs and beaches.'

The head of Tonga Geological Services Taaniela Kula urged people to stay indoors, wear a mask if they were outside and cover rainwater reservoirs and rainwater harvesting systems.

The Pacific Tsunami Warning Centre issued a 'tsunami advisory' for American Samoa, saying there was a threat of 'sea level fluctuations and strong ocean currents that could be a hazard along beaches.'

Authorities in Fiji also issued a warning, telling people to avoid the shoreline due to strong currents and dangerous waves. Fijian officials also warned residents to cover water collection tanks in case of acidic rain fall. 

New Zealand's military said it was monitoring the situation and remained on standby, ready to assist if asked. 

Residents of American Samoa were alerted of the tsunami warning by local broadcasters as well as church bells that rang territory-wide. An outdoor siren warning system was out of service.

Those living along the shoreline quickly moved to higher ground.

As night fell, there were no reports of any damage and the Hawaii-based tsunami center canceled the alert.

Authorities in the nearby island nations of Fiji and Samoa also issued warnings, telling people to avoid the shoreline due to strong currents and dangerous waves. 

The Japan Meteorological Agency said there may be a slight swelling of the water along the Japanese coasts, but it was not expected to cause any damage. 

Tsunami advisory issued for Hawaii and entire West Coast

Locals pleaded for people to 'pray for us' as the eruption was compared to 'bombs going off' by those who heard it, followed by the tsunami surging ashore

Tsunami advisory issued for Hawaii and entire West Coast

The eruption was so intense it was heard as 'loud thunder sounds' in Fiji more than 500 miles away, officials in Suva said

Tsunami advisory issued for Hawaii and entire West Coast

Pictured: Image captured by NOAA's GOES West satellite and made available by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) shows an explosive eruption of the Hunga Tonga-Hunga Ha'apai volcano, located in the South Pacific Kingdom of Tonga, 13 January 2022

Tsunami advisory issued for Hawaii and entire West Coast

The eruption (pictured from a satellite) could be heard thousands of kilometres away and sparked warnings in New Zealand, Fiji and American Samoa

The Islands Business news site reported that a convoy of police and military troops evacuated Tonga's King Tupou VI from his palace near the shore as residents headed for higher ground.

The explosion of the Hunga Tonga Hunga Ha'apai volcano was the latest in a series of spectacular eruptions.

Mere Taufa said she was in her house getting ready for dinner when the volcano erupted.

'It was massive, the ground shook, our house was shaking. It came in waves. My younger brother thought bombs were exploding nearby,' Taufa told the Stuff news website.

She said water filled their home minutes later and she saw the wall of a neighbouring house collapse.

'We just knew straight away it was a tsunami.

Just water gushing into our home.

'You could just hear screams everywhere, people screaming for safety, for everyone to get to higher ground.' 

A Twitter user identified as Dr Faka'iloatonga Taumoefolau posted video showing waves crashing ashore.

Tsunami advisory issued for Hawaii and entire West Coast

This picture taken on December 21, 2021 shows white gaseous clouds rising from the Hunga Ha'apai eruption seen from the Patangata coastline near Tongan capital Nuku'alofa

'Can literally hear the volcano eruption, sounds pretty violent,' he wrote, adding in a later post: 'Raining ash and tiny pebbles, darkness blanketing the sky.'

Earlier, the Matangi Tonga news site reported that scientists had observed massive explosions, thunder and lightning near the volcano after it started erupting Friday.

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

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

The National Emergency Management Agency said some parts could expect 'strong and unusual currents and unpredictable surges at the shore following a large volcanic eruption'.

Late on Saturday, the Pacific Tsunami Warning Centre said the threat to American Samoa appeared to have passed, although minor sea fluctuations could continue. 

The Hunga Tonga-Hunga Ha'apai volcano sits 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 archipelago for several days.