Mon. Jan 17th, 2022
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A tsunami has hit Tonga’s largest island, Tongatapu. (@sakakimoana/Twitter)

Waves crossed the shoreline of Tonga’s capital, Nuku’alofa, on Saturday, flowing onto coastal roads and flooding properties, according to CNN affiliate Radio New Zealand.

Tonga’s King Tupou VI was evacuated from the Royal Palace after the tsunami flooded the capital, RNZ reported, citing local media reports that a convoy of police and troops rushed the monarch to a villa at Mata Ki Eua.

Residents headed for higher ground, RNZ said, as waves swept the palace grounds, waterfront and main street.

Ash was falling from the sky in Nuku’alofa on Saturday evening and phone connections were down, according to RNZ.

The Hunga-Tonga-Hunga-Ha’apai volcano first erupted Friday, sending a plume of ash 20 kilometers (12.4 miles) into the air, according to RNZ.

A second eruption hit on Saturday at 5:26 p.m. local time, RNZ reported.

Australia’s Bureau of Meteorology said it recorded a tsunami wave of 1.2 meters (about 4 feet) near Nuku’alofa at 5:30 p.m. local time on Saturday.

The Pacific Tsunami Warning Center said tsunami waves of 2.7 feet (83 cm) were observed by gauges at Nuku’alofa and waves of 2 feet at Pago Pago, the capital of American Samoa, Reuters reported.

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