Waves hitting Tonga as volcano tsunami warning in place

Source: 1News

Waves are hitting Tonga after a volcano tsunami warning was put in place on Saturday evening.

The Tongan Meteorological Service has issued a tsunami warning for all of Tonga as the Hunga-Tonga-Hunga-Ha'apai continues erupting. On Friday, it erupted, sending ash, steam and gas 20 kilometres into the air.

Local video footage shows waves washing ashore and ashfall from the volcano eruption mixed with rain, creating a dark and eerie landscape on the main island, Tongatapu.

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The volcano had been active from 20 December 2021 but was declared dormant on 11 January.

It comes after RNZ reported earlier on Saturday that the tsunami marine warning issued for all of Tonga waters following the violent eruptions of underwater volcano Hunga-Tonga-Hunga-Ha'apai had been lifted.

Tongan journalist, Mary Fonua, based in the capital - Nukuʻalofa spoke to 1News on Saturday evening and called the situation "precarious".

“You’ll forgive the wobble in my voice because we’ve had a very frightening hour,” she said.

Fonua said there was a series of "huge explosions" as the volcano, 65km away, erupted and was followed about 15 minutes later by tsunami waves.

"The first ones were the biggest," she said.

"This long white wave, we could see coming from the horizon. After about three waves it had come over the road and into our garden," she said.

Fonua said the "huge, rolling" waves were heading to a nearby, low-lying settlement,' which she said was a concern.

"I did see a few cars coming out before the waves hit," but, she said there are thousands of people in that area of the peninsula.

"The cracking earthquakes were so dire," she said, adding police had come out and warned people about the tsunami.