Minimal impact reported in Santa Barbara County
On Saturday, the national weather service issued a tsunami advisory for the West Coast including Hawaii, parts of Alaska, California, Washington and Oregon. The advisory is due to the eruption of an underwater volcano near the Pacific Island Nation of Tonga. The volcano is approximately 5,000 miles from California.
The impact in Santa Barbara was minimal with a peak wave of 4.5 feet at 9 a.m. While not tall, the waves came in a noisy manner that made the birds at Goleta beach nervous, and some flew away startled.
“There is always an urgency to act and not always good information to act on.” Kerri Murray, President of ShelterBox USA, a Santa Barbara based non-profit, told the News-Press during a phone interview.
“The National Tsunami Warning Center has issued a Tsunami Advisory for the Santa Barbara County coast,” according to a press release from the city of Goleta. ThE notification is only an advisory and there is no need to evacuate at this time. A Tsunami advisory means that a tsunami is expected or occurring and may produce strong currents or waves which will be dangerous to those in or near the immediate coastline.
During an advisory you should stay away from beaches and waterways.
“ShelterBox is actively monitoring the violent volcano which erupted in Tonga, and triggered a tsunami, sending shockwaves across the region. We are working to determine the humanitarian needs related to shelter … The volcano was one of the most violent ever captured on satellite- with a 3 mile wide plume of ash, steam, and gas rising 12 miles into the air. Our teams have responded dozens of times to volcanoes, typhoons, cyclones, floods and earthquakes across the South Pacific and Western Pacific,” Ms. Murray told the News-Press in an email.
“We are advising people to stay out of the water and off the beaches,” Kristen Lund, a National Weather Service meteorologist in Oxnard, told the LA times. Ms. Lund distinguished the advisory from a ‘warning.’ During a warning residents are strongly encouraged to evacuate to higher ground immediately.
“No major tsunami is expected but the advisory remained in effect for the U.S. West Coast as of about 9:30 a.m. PST, and residents in affected areas were being told to stay away from the coastline and beaches were closed in some areas. The advisory was lifted for Hawaii,” according to a report by the Weather Channel.
Evacuations have been ordered in Japan according to theYomiuri Shimbun, a Japanese newspaper. The paper cited local emergency officials, reporting that approximately 153,000 were told to evacuate their homes, in coastal areas. In Washington state, waves were reported up to three feet high, according to the national service.
The advisory threat could continue for several hours after the first wave arrives. Widespread flooding is not expected. More information can be found at https://tsunami.gov/.