Photo by John Schreiber.
Southland beaches were put under a tsunami advisory Saturday after an underwater volcano erupted in the South Pacific.
People were advised to move off the beach and out of the harbors and marinas, avoid the coastline and not to go to the coast to watch the tsunami. All beaches in Orange County and many beaches and piers in Los Angeles County were closed, but no evacuation orders were in place.
The warning was issued for Alaska, Hawaii and the entire West Coast, though it was later canceled for Hawaii and parts of Alaska.
Tsunami advisories were canceled Saturday evening for Huntington Beach, Newport Beach, the rest of the Orange County coast as well as the Los Angeles County coast, according to authorities in those cities, including police and the National Weather Service.
A tsunami advisory in San Diego County was canceled Saturday afternoon, but the advisories remained in place at Los Angeles and some Orange County beaches.
Waves capable of producing strong currents hazardous to swimmers, boats, and coastal structures arrived starting at Southland beaches at 7:50 a.m. Wave heights of 1 to 2 feet were expected.
“Seeing some surges on the Port San Luis tsunami gauge. Reporting up to a 24 cm residual so far. That’s 9.4 inches or about 19 inches from the bottom and top of the residual,” the National Weather Service’s Los Angeles office tweeted at 8:08 a.m.
The NWS said at 7:05 a.m. that there were “no significant concerns about inundation.”
The agency reported at 10:14 that “tsunami surging has been reported at all coastal locations,” including 1 feet in Los Angeles. A peak wave height of 1.5 feet was later recorded in Los Angeles.
The Santa Monica Fire Department said the tsunami was not expected to cause major damage to beaches or to the Santa Monica Pier.
The Orange County Sheriff’s Department said just before noon that no damage or major impacts were reported in OC. Officials said they were communicating with the NWS and would “look to the National Tsunami Warning Center for the lifting of the Tsunami Advisory if no additional impacts are seen in Orange County.”
The Hunga Tonga-Hunga Ha’apai volcano, near Tonga, erupted late Friday. A tsunami hit Tonga’s largest island, Tongatapu, according to CNN, which reported that waves were flooding the capital.
Seismologist Lucy Jones, founder of the Dr. Lucy Jones Center for Science and Society, said the expected short-term increase of 1-3 feet in sea level would only be an issue near the beach.
“Tsunamis are not one wave. It’s more like sloshing and that sloshing can continue for a day. Just because the first wave has passed, it is not time to go see the beach,” Jones tweeted, adding that “much tsunami damage happens in ports because of the currents. Moving water has huge momentum.”