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 11L44pm AEDT.

The bureau earlier detected a 1.19m wave in Nuku’alofa, Tonga’s capital.

“The size of these waves means the threat is for the marine environment for the east coast of Australia, and for land on Lord Howe Island and Norfolk Island; however the situation will be closely monitored and warnings updated as required,” the bureau said in a statement on Saturday night.

“People in land warning zones are strongly advised to move 1 kilometre inland or go to high ground at least 10 metres above sea level.

“While evacuations are not necessary for marine warning zones, people in these areas are advised to leave the water and move away from the immediate water’s edge.”

The statement said tsunami waves are more powerful than the same size beach waves.

“There will be many waves and the first wave may not be the largest.”

Earlier the bureau issued land warnings for Norfolk Island and Lord Howe Island.

Marine warnings are current for all coastal areas of New South Wales and large parts of the Queensland, Victorian and Tasmanian coasts.

In Queensland, the marine warning is in place for Sandy Cape to Point Danger including the Fraser Island coast, Sunshine Coast waters, Moreton Bay and Gold Coast waters.

In Victoria, a marine warning is in place from Lakes Entrance to 60 nautical miles east of Gabo Island including the East Gippsland coast.

The marine warning also covers Macquarie Island and parts of Tasmania including the northern tip of Flinders Island to South East Cape, including east of Flinders Island, Banks Strait and Franklin Sound, the upper east coast, the lower east coast, the southeast coast, D’Entrecasteaux Channel, Derwent Estuary, Frederick Henry Bay, Norfolk Bay and Storm Bay.

Alerts issued across Pacific

Authorities across the Pacific, including in Samoa, Fiji and New Zealand, issued tsunami alerts, warning people to stay away from coastal areas due to the possibility of strong and unusual currents and unpredictable surges.

Hauraki Gulf Weather recorded a 71-centimetre wave at Great Barrier Island, near Auckland following the eruption.

New Zealanders took to social media to report they could hear the eruption, while residents of American Samoa were alerted to a tsunami warning by local broadcasters as well as church bells that rang territory-wide as an outdoor siren warning system was out of service.

The Japan Meteorological Agency said a tsunami reached that country’s Pacific coast, too, with waves as high as three metres possible. 

A 1.2-metre wave reached the remote southern island of Amami Oshima and other areas along Japan’s Pacific coast observed smaller surges, the agency said.

A supplied image obtained Saturday, January 15, 2022 shows a satellite image of a volcano eruption in Tonga.

Source: Tonga Meteorological Services


A tsunami advisory was issued for the entire US West Coast – from the bottom of California to the tip of Alaska’s Aleutian islands – while tsunami waves triggered “minor flooding” in Hawaii according to the Pacific Tsunami Warning Center.

Footage shared on social media appeared to show a wave of about a foot washing into a coastal inlet in the state of Oregon.

Canada issued a tsunami advisory for British Columbia province and urged people to stay away from beaches and marinas.

‘It came in waves’

The eruption sent large waves crashing across the shore and people rushing to higher ground in Tonga.

There were no immediate reports of injuries or the extent of the damage as communications with the small Pacific nation remain problematic.

Video posted to social media on Saturday showed large waves washing ashore in coastal areas, swirling around homes and buildings.

A spokesperson for the Australian government said on Saturday night initial assessments were underway and the Department of Foreign Affairs is working to ensure Australians in Tonga are safe and accounted for.

“Tonga is part of our Pacific family and our thoughts are with the entire community dealing with the impact of the volcanic eruption and tsunami,” the spokesperson said in a statement.

“The Prime Minister and Minister for Foreign Affairs are monitoring the situation and Australia stands ready to provide support to Tonga if requested.”

Any Australians concerned about people in Tonga should contact DFAT on 1300 555 135 or +61 2 6261 3305.

New Zealand’s military said it was monitoring the situation and remained on standby, ready to assist if asked.

Satellite images showed a huge eruption. The Tonga Meteorological Services said a tsunami warning was in effect for all of Tonga, and data from the Pacific Tsunami Warning Centre showed waves of 80cm had been detected.

The Islands Business news site reported that a convoy of police and military troops evacuated Tonga’s King Tupou VI from his palace near the shore. He was among the many residents who headed for higher ground.

Local resident Mere Taufa said she was in her house getting ready for dinner when the undersea volcano erupted – sending water crashing into her home.

“It was massive, the ground shook, our house was shaking. It came in waves. My younger brother thought bombs were exploding nearby,” she told the New Zealand-based Stuff news website.

She said water filled their home minutes later and she saw the wall of a neighbouring house collapse.

“We just knew straight away it was a tsunami. Just water gushing into our home. You could just hear screams everywhere, people screaming for safety, for everyone to get to higher ground.”

A Twitter user identified as Dr Faka’iloatonga Taumoefolau posted a video showing waves crashing ashore.

“Can literally hear the volcano eruption, sounds pretty violent,” he wrote, adding in a later post: “Raining ash and tiny pebbles, darkness blanketing the sky.”

Earlier, the Matangi Tonga news site reported that scientists observed massive explosions, thunder and lightning near the volcano after it started erupting early Friday.

The site said satellite images showed a five kilometre-wide plume of ash, steam and gas rising up into the air to about 20 kilometres.

The volcano is located about 64 kilometres north of the capital, Nuku’alofa.

Back in late 2014 and early 2015, a series of eruptions in the area created a small new island and disrupted international air travel to the Pacific archipelago for several days.

Tonga is home to about 105,000 people.

With AFP.