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Tsunami advisory issued for US west coast after underwater volcanic eruption near Tonga

A tsunami advisory has been issued for Hawaii and parts of the United States’ Pacific coast after a dramatic eruption of an undersea volcano near Tonga on Saturday.

California, Oregon, Washington, Alaska and the Canadian province of British Columbia could all be affected, the National Tsunami Warning Center said in a bulletin.

Residents living near beaches, ports, marinas and other coastal areas should move away from shore and head inland or uphill, the bulletin adds.

In Hawaii, the Pacific Tsunami Warning Center reported waves crashing from one foot at Nawiliwili, Kauai, to 2.7 feet at Hanalei.

The advisory was issued after the Hunga Tonga Hunga Ha’apai volcano erupted near Tonga early on Saturday, sending strong waves crashing onto its main island, Tongatapu.

The eruption lasted 10 to 15 minutes and threw ash plumes more than 8 miles high, according to the Tonga Geological Survey.

Scientists observed massive explosions, thunder and lightning near the volcano after it erupted early Friday, the Matangi Tonga news site reported.

It was the latest in a string of eruptions seen in the area since Friday morning.

More than 1,400 miles away in New Zealand, authorities warned of storm surges from the eruption. The National Emergency Management Agency said parts of the country could expect “unusual strong currents and unpredictable shoreline surges”.

The New Zealand military also said it was monitoring the situation and remained on standby, ready to help if asked.

Tsunami warnings have also been issued for parts of Australia where waves several meters high have been seen on the Norfolk Islands off the country’s east coast.

Large waves were also seen in Vanuatu and other South Pacific countries.

Associated press contributed.

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