Tonga tsunami: Volcano ‘turns sky black’ – triggers shockwave felt hundreds of miles away

Video posted on social media shows large waves washing ashore in coastal areas.  The Tonga Meteorological Services says a tsunami warning has been put in force covering all of the island.

New Zealand’s National Emergency Management Agency tweeted: “We have issued a NATIONAL ADVISORY: TSUNAMI ACTIVITY following the Tongan eruption.

“We expect New Zealand coastal areas on the north and east coast of the North Island and the Chatham Islands to experience strong and unusual currents and unpredictable surges at the shore.”

Reuters reports that tsunami waves measuring two feet in height were observed by sea-level gauges at the capital of the US territory of American Samoa following volcanic activity in Tonga, the U.S.-based Pacific tsunami warning center said.

The tsunami monitor said in a statement that the tsunami threat continues and sea level fluctuations as well as strong ocean currents pose hazards along beaches and harbours.

Video shared on social media by BNO News shows the sky turned pitch black.

BNO News tweeted: “Sky turns pitch black as volcano eruption and tsunami hit Tonga.”

Australia’s 9 News reports satellite footage showing the Hunga-Tonga-Hunga-Ha’apai volcano erupting on Saturday evening local time after sustained volcanic activity in the area since Friday.

Jared Silverman tweeted alongside a clip of the eruption recorded by satellite: “As a meteorologist, I’ve seen many things on satellite. None as frightening as this Tonga volcanic eruption!”


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

It said satellite images showed a 5km-wide plume of ash, steam and gas rising up into the air to about 20km.

Dr Faka’iloatonga Taumoefolau tweeted that he could hear the eruptions and it sounded “pretty violent”.

He added: “Raining ash and tiny pebbles, darkness blanketing the sky.”

More to follow…