Marine Tsunami Warning issued for Gold Coast waters
A marine tsunami warning has been issued for parts of the east coast of Australia, including the Gold Coast, after a giant underwater volcano erupted near the Tonga Islands.
The Hunga-Tonga-Hunga-Ha’apai volcano flared up on Saturday evening (local time), sending large waves crashing into the Pacific country of Tonga.
As a result, Australia’s Bureau of Meteorology has warned there is now a tsunami threat to Queensland’s marine environment.
“A threat to the marine environment of dangerous rips and waves, strong ocean currents and some localised overflow onto the immediate foreshore exists from Sandy Cape to Point Danger including Fraser Island Coast, Sunshine Coast Waters, Moreton Bay and Gold Coast Waters,” BOM warned.
The tsunami threat is predicted to hit Surfers Paradise anytime after 8.00pm and will “persist for several hours”, according to the weather bureau.
“People are strongly advised to get out of the water and move away from the immediate water’s edge of beaches, marinas, harbours, coastal estuaries and rock platforms,” BOM said.
“Boats in harbours, estuaries or shallow coastal water should return to shore.
“Vessels already at sea should stay offshore in water at least 25 metres deep until further advised.”
People are being urged not to go to the coast to watch the tsunami as there is the possibility of “dangerous, localised flooding of the immediate foreshore”.
“Tsunami waves are more powerful than the same size beach waves,” the Bureau of Meteorology said.
“There will be many waves and the first wave may not be the largest. Take care in other coastal areas where low-level effects may be observed.”
It’s not yet known if any Australians in Tonga have been injured, however the Federal Government has confirmed they are liaising with their counterparts.
“Tonga is part of our Pacific family and our thoughts are with the entire community dealing with the impact of the volcanic eruption and tsunami,” a spokesperson for the Australian Government said.
“The Prime Minister and Minister for Foreign Affairs are monitoring the situation and Australia stands ready to provide support to Tonga if requested.
“Initial assessments are still underway and DFAT is working to ensure Australians in Tonga are safe and accounted for.”
Ongoing information and details can be found here.
By Shanee Dobson
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