Tonga issued on Saturday afternoon another nationwide tsunami warning after a violent eruption of a volcano in Tonga’s Hunga Ha’apai island, about 65km north of capital city Nuku’alofa.
The tsunami warning was issued by the Tonga Meteorological Services, according to Radio New Zealand. Waves have hit the main island of Tongatapu, including Nuku’alofa.
The volcano has erupted continuously since Friday morning, raising the plume to altitude 5-20 km above sea level.
According to Tonga’s news website Matangi Tonga Online, Tonga’s National Tsunami Warning Center issued a national tsunami marine warning early Friday, alerting Tongans to stay away from coastal areas, after swirling abnormal tides drew crowds to the Nuku’alofa waterfront.
The tsunami warning was cancelled for Tongatapu, Ha’apai and southern Tonga on Saturday morning because the observation data recorded from the tide gauge at Nuku’alofa indicated that the state of the sea level was back to normal.
All domestic flights in Tonga were cancelled on Saturday due to the active volcano.
Meanwhile, in Fiji, the Mineral Resources Department has advised the public, especially those in low lying coastal areas to stay out of the water and away from the shore due to strong currents and dangerous waves as a result of volcanic eruptions in Tonga.
The department said tsunami waves from these volcanic eruptions are in effect along the entire Fiji coastline.
The Tongan volcano is part of the highly active Tonga-Kermadec Islands volcanic arc, a subduction zone extending from New Zealand north-northeast to Fiji.