The Pacific island nation of Tonga was hit by tsunami waves on Saturday, January 15th, after a large undersea volcano erupted near the country. According to the Associated Press, the undersea cable that supplies internet from Fiji was likely damaged due to the eruption, resulting in no injury or damage reports being available as of now.
The Pacific Tsunami Warning Center kept an eye on wave heights in Hawaii, with the highest reported swells capped out at 2.7 feet (80 cm), but damage due to the waves seems limited to boats being pushed against docks.
Videos from Tonga show waves crashing around houses and other buildings, and the entire archipelago was put under tsunami advisory.
Apparently Hunga Tonga Hunga Ha’apai’s eruption was only the latest in several recent eruptions, and Planet Labs PBC has recently reported that the eruptions are causing new islands to grow and expand in the area.
Hawaii, Alaska, and the entirety of the U.S. Pacific coast were told to leave the coastline and head for higher grounds. An advisory that covers this large of a region is extremely rare.
The first waves to hit the United States measured at around one foot in Alaska, but waves have been reported as high as four feet in Central California.