January 16, 2022

A tsunami alert has been issued for Tonga following a volcanic eruption

Radio New Zealand (RNZ), a subsidiary of CNN, reported that the Hunga-Tonga-Hunga-Ha’apai volcano first erupted on Friday, sending ash over 20 kilometers (12.4 miles).

The RNZ reported a second blast at 5:26 pm local time on Saturday.

Satellite images show a large gray cloud and shock waves propagating from the eruption. According to the RNZ, waves of the eruption swept through coastal areas off the coast of Noku’aloba, the capital of Tonga, flooding property.

The epicenter was reported below the Pacific Ocean floor, however; no tsunami alert was issued.

In addition to the tsunami alert, Tonga’s Meteorological Observatory has warned of heavy rains, flash floods and strong winds in lands and coastal waters.

The nearby island of Fiji has issued a general warning to people living in low-lying coastal areas to “move to safety” in anticipation of strong currents and dangerous waves.

New Zealand’s official meteorological service said its meteorological stations across the country had observed “increasing pressure” since Saturday evening’s eruption.

According to the RNZ, the volcano is located about 30 kilometers (18.6 miles) southeast of Tonga’s Fonuwafo Island.

According to the NWS Pacific Tsunami Warning Center, a tsunami alert issued for US Samoa has been canceled.

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