Emergency Management BC issues tsunami advisory for parts of coast following volcanic eruption near Tonga

An underwater volcanic eruption in the Pacific Ocean has people scrambling for higher ground along the British Columbia coast.

Emergency Management BC issued a tsunami advisory for four coastal regions due to high waves from the volcano, which was near the island nation of Tonga.

The country is an archipelago of more than 170 islands in the South Pacific Ocean.

No injuries were reported.

The tsunami advisory applies to the North Coast and Haida Gwaii; the central coast, including Kitimat and Bella Coola, and the northeast coast of Vancouver Island, including Port Hardy; the outer east coast of Vancouver Island from Cape Scott to Port Renfrew; and the Strait of Juan de Fuca from the Jordan River to Greater Victoria, including the Saanich Peninsula.

“Residents of at-risk coastal areas are advised to stay away from the shore and follow the instructions of local authorities,” the tsunami advisory read.

He notes that people should not go to shore to view the tsunami and not return to shore until local emergency officials say it is safe to do so.

“Boat operators: when weather and conditions permit, move your boat out to sea to a depth of at least 180 feet; if at sea, avoid entering shallow waters, harbours, marinas, bays and coves to avoid floating and submerged debris and strong currents,” says Emergency Management BC on its website.

Waves are expected to arrive in Langara at 8:30 a.m. and Tofino at 8:50 a.m.

A warning means strong currents are likely. The highest level is a “warning”, which implies complete evacuation rather than simply staying away from shore.

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