Tonga experienced a 1.2-meter tsunami shortly after the eruption. A warning has been issued to island nations in the wider region. Floods have already been reported from Hawaii, 5,000 km away. A tsunami warning also applies to the West Coast of America, although no tsunami is expected here.
The explosion lasted eight minutes. Tonga residents said it looked as if several bombs were exploding nearby. The eruption of the volcano can be heard even in Fiji, 800 kilometers away. It sounded like a series of violent thunder bombardments.
“It was huge. Our house started shaking. After a few minutes the house filled with water. A neighbor’s wall collapsed,” said a Tongan resident. “I heard people screaming everywhere. Everyone wanted to go to higher regions.”
After the volcano erupted, the King of Tonga, Topo VI, was moved from his palace to safety. Most other coastal populations have also moved deeper inland. As far as is known, no injuries have been reported so far.
Hengja-Tonga-Hongja-Hapai volcano also experienced a strong eruption on Friday. Then a small tsunami with waves of up to 30 cm arose.
“Twitter junkie. Lifelong communicator. Award-winning analyst. Subtly charming internetaholic.”