A tsunami hit the Pacific island nation of Tonga on Saturday after an underwater volcanic eruption sent waves as far as Oregon.
The incredible eruption has been captured on satellite images and can be seen from space. “Probably the most explosive, intense volcanic eruption ever observed on satellite” Meteorologist and atmospheric scientist Matthew Cappucci tweeted. “Up to 100,000 feet long, an external gravity wave explosion, a massive mass of pyrocumulonimbus/volcanic thunder, tens of thousands of lightning bolts, a tsunami…wow.”
US National Weather Service forecaster William Churchill called it “one of the most incredible satellite animations I’ve ever seen… Waves on waves. It is simply unbelievable.”
The country’s largest island, Tongatapu, was hardest hit by the eruption 40 miles away. Video taken from the island shows waves crashing down the streets, flooding its capital Nuku’alofa, and forcing the evacuation of King Tupou VI of Tonga, according to CNN.
There have been no reports of casualties yet, but communication with the island remains intact.
Residents said they’ve seen waves crash through physical barriers as they crash into the islands, halting everything from choir rehearsals to dinner. Ash and smoke covered Nuku’alofa, and communication was cut off.
“My first instinct was to hide under the table,” Tongan Mere Taufa told New Zealand’s Stuff news agency. “I grabbed my sister, and yelled at my parents and everyone else in the house to do the same.”
“You can just hear screams everywhere, people screaming about safety, getting people to higher areas,” she added.
The National Weather Service issued tsunami advisories for virtually the entire west coast of the United States due to the storm. The Portland office said waves of 1 to 3 feet were reported along the Oregon and Washington coasts, while its Los Angeles office urged residents to be alert to currents. Australia, Fiji, Samoa and New Zealand also issued warnings.
“The first wave may not be the highest so my later waves will be bigger,” Portland NWS tweeted.
This is the second eruption of the underwater volcano Hunga-Tonga-Hunga-Ha’apai in the past several days. Saturday’s explosion was smaller than Friday’s, as captured by the National Weather Service in Honolulu. Before that, it broke out in 2014, forming a new island.
https://www.thedailybeast.com/satellite-captures-massive-underwater-volcano-off-tonga-tsunami-reaches-all-the-way-to-oregon?source=articles&via=rss Satellite captures Large Underwater Volcano off Tonga, Tsunami hits Oregon