A tsunami advisory was in effect for the California coast Saturday morning due to a volcano erupting near the Pacific nation of Tonga.
Officials urged people to avoid beaches and marina areas Saturday morning.
The National Weather Service said the tsunami activity was supposed to hit Monterey around 7:30 a.m. and San Francisco around 8:10 a.m. Beaches in Southern California were supposed to see impacts beginning around 7:50 a.m. Many beaches and piers were closed Saturday morning. Berkeley closed its marina and urged people to seek higher ground.
“If you are located in this coastal area,” NWS said, “move off the beach and out of harbors and marinas. Do not go to the coast to watch the tsunami. Be alert to instructions from your local emergency officials.”
The Orange County Sheriff’s Department said in an advisory that while major flooding was not expected, the tsunami could produce dangerous currents and tidal surges through the day that would make swimming hazardous. Strong currents were expected in harbors and bays for several hours.
Los Angeles County officials issued the following advisory for coastal areas:
- Move out of the water, off the beach, and away from harbors, marinas, breakwaters, bays and inlets.
- Do not go to the shore to observe the tsunami.
- Do not return to the coast until local emergency officials indicate it is safe.
Officials said some coastal areas could see wave heights of 1 to 2 feet. “Main impacts expect to be strong rip currents, coastal flooding, and inundation of low lying areas is possible. Move to higher ground,” NWS said.
The tsunami was caused by the eruption of an undersea volcano Saturday. It brought tsunami alerts from large swaths of the Pacific including Hawaii and the West Coast.
In Hawaii, the Pacific Tsunami Warning Center reported waves slamming ashore from a foot in Nawiliwili, Kauai, in Hawaii, to 2.7 feet in Hanalei. “We are relieved that there is no reported damage and only minor flooding throughout the islands,” the center said, describing the situation in Hawaii.
On Tonga, video posted to social media showed large waves washing ashore in coastal areas, swirling around homes and buildings.
In Hawaii, Alaska and along the U.S. Pacific coast, residents were asked to move away from the coastline to higher ground and pay attention to specific instructions from their local emergency management officials, said Dave Snider, tsunami warning coordinator for the National Tsunami Warning Center in Palmer, Alaska.
“We don’t issue an advisory for this length of coastline as we’ve done — I’m not sure when the last time was — but it really isn’t an everyday experience,” he said. “I hope that elevates the importance and severity for our citizens.”
The Associated Press contributed to this report.