Tsunami advisory issued for American Samoa after another volcano eruption in Tonga


(NEW YORK) — The National Tsunami Warning Center issued a tsunami advisory for American Samoa after another undersea volcano eruption near the island of Tonga.

While the volcano has been erupting for the past month, its most explosive event occurred Saturday, triggering a tsunami advisory for the entire U.S. West Coast and Alaska, Lucy Jones, a seismologist who’s been observing the events in the Pacific, told ABC News.

“This is the largest tsunami from a volcano that I have been aware of,” Jones told ABC News.

Fiji Airlines canceled all flights for Monday due to hazardous operating conditions from the cloud of ash that has resulted from the series of eruptions.

The advisory means that a tsunami could produce strong currents or waves near the coastline, but a tsunami advisory doesn’t indicate a major tsunami event where water is actively entering coastal communities. In this circumstance, the tsunami is only dangerous to those in the water or on the immediate beach — likely swimmers or boaters.

British Columbia also is under advisory. Japan’s Meteorological Agency issued a tsunami warning for the southern Amami Island and Tokara island chain in Kagoshima Prefecture and a tsunami advisory for all coastal areas facing the Pacific Ocean. Tsunami waves of 1.2 meters (about 4 feet) were reported near those islands around 11:30 a.m. ET.

It took hours for the first waves to reach the U.S., where coastal sea levels during high tide rose 1 to 3 feet, Jones said.

“It’s probably dangerous to be out in a boat, but it’s not a significant impact to us,” she said.

Jones cautioned there could be strong currents for the next 24 to 48 hours due to sloshing waves, but said she believed the worst threat has passed unless there is another eruption.

Due to unusually high waves in Peru following the Tonga volcano eruption, two women drowned in their car, Peruvian police told ABC News. Police said the victims, identified as Heyner Quiroz, 46, and Wendy Altamirano, 23, were dragged away by the rising waters at Naylamp beach in Lambayeque, Peru, and could not be rescued in time.

After the volcanic eruption, and as a preventative measure, authorities in Peru ordered for 22 beaches along the coast to be closed; Naylamp beach was not one of them.

ABC News’ Jenna Harrison, Julia Jacobo, Daniel Manzo and Zohreen Shah contributed to this report.

Editor’s note: This story’s headline has been updated to report that a tsunami advisory, not a warning, was issued.

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