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Tsunami advisory canceled for Hawaii with no major damage reported in state after massive volcanic eruption near Tonga

  • JAPAN METEOROLOGY AGENCY VIA AP
                                A satellite image taken by Himawari-8, a Japanese weather satellite, shows an undersea volcano eruption near the Pacific nation of Tonga.

    JAPAN METEOROLOGY AGENCY VIA AP

    A satellite image taken by Himawari-8, a Japanese weather satellite, shows an undersea volcano eruption near the Pacific nation of Tonga.

  • COURTESY GOOGLE MAPS

    COURTESY GOOGLE MAPS

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UPDATE: 8:05 a.m.

The tsunami advisory for the state of Hawaii was lifted at 7:52 a.m., according to the Pacific Tsunami Warning Center.

“Tsunami wave heights across the state of Hawaii are now below advisory levels and are continuing to diminish,” the center said. “Based on all available data the Pacific Tsunami Warning Center is now cancelling the tsunami advisory. Small sea-level changes and strong or unusual currents may persist for several additional hours in some coastal areas and appropriate caution should be exercised by boaters and swimmers.”

Although no major damage has been reported from the 1-to-3 feet tsunami waves recorded in state harbors early today, the Maui County Emergency Management Agency said this morning that the waves lifted a boat from its moorings in Manele Harbor, Lanai, and washed debris ashore in Hana, closing a road near Hamoa Beach Park.

Officials said assessment of impacts is ongoing.

“I ask everyone near the shoreline to be vigilant and exercise caution,” Mayor Michael Victorino said. “We will continue to monitor the impacts of this tsunami.”

Hawaii County officials said “the Hawaii Police Department reported observing above normal tides, wave surge, and coastal inundation of less than 3-feet at multiple locations across Hawaii island.

Kahaluu Beach Park was closed due to the effects of the small tsunami waves.

6:40 a.m.

The Pacific Tsunami Warning Center in Hawaii says the tsunami advisory for Hawaii continues this morning as the state continues to see small seismic waves generated from a massive volcanic eruption off Tonga Friday night.

Center officials said the tsunami waves across the state “are now diminishing but they remain a hazard at the advisory level.”

“We are relieved that there is no reported damage and only minor flooding throughout the islands,” the center said. The National Weather Service said there are reports of waves pushing boats in Hawaii. harbors.

Tsunami wave amplification heights of 2.7 feet were recorded in Hanalei and Kahului, 1.2 feet on Honokohau, and 1.1 feet in Honolulu.

”Tsunami waves that can be a hazard to swimmers and boaters as well as to persons near the shore at beaches and in harbors and marinas are now affecting the state of Hawaii,” the advisory said. “This hazard could continue for several hours. The situation is being monitored closely and the advisory will end when the hazard has passed.”

Further messages will be issued hourly or sooner as conditions warrant and until the threat to Hawaii has passed,” officials said.

“No evacuation is necessary but tsunami waves with the potential for producing strong currents or waves dangerous to those in or very near the water is expected or occurring,” the Maui Emergency Management Agency said. “There may be flooding of beach and harbor areas. Stay out of the water and away from beaches and waterways. Follow instructions from local officials.”

The advisory extends to the Pacific Northwest and Alaska.

The first waves to hit the continental United States were measured at about 1 foot in Nikolski, Atka and Adak, Alaska. The wave was about .7 feet at Monterey, California, the U.S. National Tsunami Warning Center said in a tweet. Sea level fluctuations were also beginning in Alaska and California, according to the National Tsunami Warning Center.

Beaches and piers were closed across Southern California as a precaution but the National Weather Service tweeted there were “no significant concerns about inundation.” Strong rip currents were possible, however, and officials warned people to stay out of the water.

1 a.m.

A tsunami advisory has been issued for Hawaii following a volcanic eruption in Tonga. The Pacific Tsunami Warning Center said no major tsunami is expected. However, sea level changes and strong currents are possible along all of the state’s coasts.

The Hawaii Emergency Management Agency said effects could be felt as soon as 1:05 a.m. today and potential hazards could persist for several hours. The public is asked to exercise caution on beaches and be alert for unusual wave activity. Swimmers and boaters should also use caution until the unusual wave activity subsides.

PREVIOUS COVERAGE

WELLINGTON, New Zealand >> An undersea volcano erupted in spectacular fashion near the Pacific nation of Tonga today (Friday evening Hawaii time), sending large waves crashing across the shore and people rushing to higher ground.

There were no immediate reports of injuries or the extent of the damage as communications with the small nation remained problematic. Video posted to social media showed large waves washing ashore in coastal areas, swirling around homes and buildings.

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

Satellite images showed a huge eruption, a plume of ash, steam and gas captured from the space rising like a mushroom above the blue Pacific waters.

The Tonga Meteorological Services said a tsunami warning was in effect for all of the archipelago, and data from the Pacific Tsunami Warning Center showed waves of 80 centimeters (2.6 feet) had been detected.

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 is not expected to cause any damage.

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.

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

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

“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 observed massive explosions, thunder and lightning near the volcano after it started erupting early Friday. Satellite images showed a 5-kilometer (3 mile) -wide plume rising into the air to about 20 kilometers (12 miles).

More than 2,300 kilometers (1,400 miles) away in New Zealand, officials were warning of storm surges from the eruption.

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

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

The volcano is located about 64 kilometers (40 miles) north of the capital, Nuku’alofa. Back in late 2014 and early 2015, a series of eruptions in the area created a small new island and disrupted international air travel to the Pacific archipelago for several days.

Tonga is home to about 105,000 people.

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