Date: 2022-01-15 12:33:21
A tsunami warning has been issued for parts of Australia’s east coast and Lord Howe, Norfolk and Macquarie islands.
The Bureau of Meteorology says the Hunga Tonga-Hunga Ha’apai volcano near Tonga erupted at 3.10pm AEDT on Saturday, and tsunami waves have been observed as a result of the eruption.
“The size of these waves means the threat is for the marine environment for the east coast of Australia, and for land on Lord Howe Island and Norfolk Island; however the situation will be closely monitored and warnings updated as required,” the bureau said in a statement on Saturday night.
“People in land warning zones are strongly advised to move 1 kilometre inland or go to high ground at least 10 metres above sea level.
“While evacuations are not necessary for marine warning zones, people in these areas are advised to leave the water and move away from the immediate water’s edge.”
There will be many waves and the first wave may not be the largest.
The statement said tsunami waves are more powerful than the same size beach waves.
“There will be many waves and the first wave may not be the largest.”
Earlier the bureau issued land warnings for Norfolk Island and Lord Howe Island.
Marine warnings are current for all coastal areas of NSW and large parts of the Queensland, Victorian and Tasmanian coasts.
In Queensland the marine warning is in place for Sandy Cape to Point Danger including the Fraser Island coast, Sunshine Coast waters, Moreton Bay and Gold Coast waters.
In Victoria a marine warning is in place from Lakes Entrance to 60 nautical miles east of Gabo Island including the East Gippsland coast.
The marine warning also covers Macquarie Island and parts of Tasmania including the northern tip of Flinders Island to South East Cape, including east of Flinders Island, Banks Strait and Franklin Sound, the upper east coast, the lower east coast, the southeast coast, D’Entrecasteaux Channel, Derwent Estuary, Frederick Henry Bay, Norfolk Bay and Storm Bay.
Carnage in Tonga
Satellite images showed a huge eruption. The Tonga Meteorological Services said a tsunami warning was in effect for all of Tonga, and data from the Pacific Tsunami Warning Centre showed waves of 80cm had been detected.
Authorities in nearby 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.
The site said satellite images showed a 5km-wide plume of ash, steam and gas rising up into the air to about 20km.
The volcano is located about 64km 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.