Tonga tsunami alert as underwater volcano eruption causes large groups …

A tsunami alert has been issued by the Pacific nation of Tonga after an underwater volcano erupted.

Video posted on social media platforms showed large groups washing ashore in coastal areas.

The Tonga Meteorological sets said a tsunami warning had been put in force for all of Tonga.

Authorities in nearby Fiji also issued a warning, telling people to avoid the shoreline due to strong currents and dangerous groups.

Tsunami groups of 2.7ft (83 cm) were observed by gauges at the Tongan capital of Nuku’alofa and groups of 2ft at Pago Pago, the capital of American Samoa, the Pacific Tsunami Warning Centre said.

It is the latest in a series of spectacular eruptions from the Hunga Tonga Hunga Ha’apai volcano.

Image:
Geologists view the huge plume of ash. Pic: Tonga Geological sets, Tonga government

Dr Faka’iloatonga Taumoefolau posted footage on Twitter showing water crashing on to the shore and flooding similarities.

“Can literally hear the volcano eruption, sounds pretty violent,” he wrote.

A convoy of police and military troops reportedly evacuated Tonga’s King Tupou VI from his palace near the shore as residents headed for higher ground.

Scientists had observed enormous explosions, thunder and lightning near the volcano after it started erupting early on Friday, the Matangi Tonga news site reported.

The site said satellite images showed a three-mile wide plume of ash, steam and gas rising up to 12-miles into the air.

More than 1,400 miles away in New Zealand, officials were warning of storm surges from the eruption.

The country’s national emergency management agency said it expected “strong and uncommon currents and unpredictable surges” to hit the north and east coast of the North Island and the Chatham Islands.

New Zealand weather forecasting company Weather Watch posted on Twitter: “The energy release is simply astonishing.

“Tonga is around 2,000km away from New Zealand. Reports of people hearing the sonic booms across New Zealand.”

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