Tsunami warnings were issued for several South Pacific countries, the east coast of Australia, western Alaska and along the California-Mexico border, after the eruption of an underwater volcano on Saturday.
Waves were observed in Tonga’s capital and the capital of American Samoa, a US-based tsunami monitor said. Tsunami waves reached Japan late on Saturday, and waves as high as three metres were possible, the Japan Meteorological Agency said.
In the US, the National Weather Service (NWS) said tsunami advisories remained in effect for Alaska, Hawaii and the west coast. Officials in California issued warnings and closed some beaches and piers.
“Impacts may include inundation of low lying areas, coastal flooding, and strong rip currents,” NWS said.
Los Angeles county officials issued an advisory for residents to “move out of the water, off the beach” and to stay away from the shore until officials indicate it is safe, the LA Times reported.
The eruption of the Hunga Tonga-Hunga Ha’apai underwater volcano, located about 40 miles north of Tonga’s capital, Nuku’alofa, caused a 1.2-metre (4ft) tsunami, Australia’s Bureau of Meteorology said.
Warnings were issued for parts of Australia’s east coast and Lord Howe, Norfolk and Macquarie islands.
The Bureau of Meteorology said a tsunami wave height of 1.27m was observed on Norfolk Island at 9pm AEDT and an 82cm wave was registered on the Gold Coast at 10.54pm AEDT on Saturday.
It said 1.10m-high waves were being recorded at Ned’s Beach on Lord Howe Island about 11pm AEDT and a 50cm surge was observed at Hobart’s Derwent Park about 11.44pm AEDT.
Port Kembla in NSW’s Wollongong registered a 65cm wave at 2.50am AEDT on Sunday.
Tsunami waves of 83cm (2.7ft) were observed by gauges at Nuku’alofa and waves of 2ft at Pago Pago, the capital of American Samoa, the Pacific Tsunami Warning Center said.
Fiji issued a tsunami warning, urging residents to avoid the shorelines “due to strong currents and dangerous waves”.
Jese Tuisinu, a television reporter at Fiji One, posted a video on Twitter showing large waves washing ashore, with people trying to flee from the oncoming waves in their cars.
“It is literally dark in parts of Tonga and people are rushing to safety following the eruption,” he said.
Reuters contributed to this report