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Tsunami warning issued for Tonga following volcanic eruption

The Hunga-Tonga-Hunga-Ha’apai volcano erupted on Friday, sending a plume of ash 20 kilometers (12.4 miles) into the air, according to CNN Radio New Zealand (RNZ) affiliate.

A second eruption struck at 5:26 p.m. local time on Saturday, RNZ reported.

Satellite imagery shows a massive ash cloud and shock waves spreading from the eruption. Waves from the eruption swept across the coastline of Tonga’s capital, Nuku’alofa, spilling onto coastal roads and inundating properties, according to RNZ.

The Australian Bureau of Meteorology said it recorded a 1.2 meter (about 4ft) tsunami wave near Nuku’alofa at 5.30pm local time on Saturday.

The volcano is located about 30 kilometers (18.6 miles) southeast of the island of Fonuafo’ou in Tonga, according to RNZ.

In addition to the tsunami warning, the Tonga Meteorological Service issued advisories of heavy rain, flash flooding and high winds over land and coastal waters.

The neighboring island of Fiji has also issued a public advisory asking people living in low-lying coastal areas to “get to safety in anticipation of strong currents and dangerous waves”.

A tsunami advisory remains in place for all coastal waters of Samoa, according to the Samoa Meteorological Service. No evacuation is required, but members of the public are advised to stay away from beaches, the agency said.

A tsunami advisory has also been issued for coastal areas on the north and east coasts of New Zealand’s North Island and the Chatham Islands, where “unusual strong currents and unpredictable shoreline surges” are expected. , according to New Zealand’s National Emergency Management Agency. .

New Zealand’s official weather service said its weather stations across the country observed “a power surge” on Saturday night following the eruption.

A previous tsunami warning issued for American Samoa has since been cancelled, according to the NWS Pacific Tsunami Warning Center.

According to the Pacific Tsunami Warning Center, there is no tsunami threat to Guam and the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands from a “distant eruption.”

The volcano had been active since December 20, but was declared inactive on January 11, according to RNZ.