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Tsunami warning issued for all of Tonga after underwater volcano erupts

The peaceful nation of Tonga issued a tsunami warning on Saturday after an underwater volcano erupted.

Video posted on social media showed large waves crashing into coastal areas.

The Tonga Meteorological Service said a tsunami warning has been issued for the whole of Tonga.

Saturday’s eruption was the latest in a series of spectacular eruptions from the Hunga Tonga Hunga Ha’apai volcano.

A Twitter user identified as Dr Faka’iloatonga Taumoefolau posted a video showing waves crashing on the shore.

“Can literally hear the eruption of the volcano, the sounds are quite violent,” he wrote, adding in a later post: “It’s raining ash and tiny pebbles, darkness covers the sky.

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

The site said satellite images showed a five kilometer wide plume of ash, steam and gas rising into the air about 20 kilometers away.

More than 2,300 kilometers away in New Zealand, officials warned of storm surges from the eruption.

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