The Irish Times

The Irish Times online. Latest news including sport, analysis, business, weather and more from the definitive brand of quality news in Ireland.

https://www.irishtimes.com/

Residents rush to escape waves after undersea volcano erupts near Tonga.

An undersea volcano has erupted near the Pacific nation of Tonga, sending large waves crashing across the shore and people rushing to higher ground.

There were no immediate reports of injuries or the extent of the damage as communications with the small nation remained problematic.

Video posted to social media showed large waves washing ashore in coastal areas, swirling around homes and buildings.

New Zealand’s military said it was monitoring the situation and remained on standby to assist if asked.

Satellite images showed a huge eruption. Tonga Meteorological Services said a tsunami warning was in effect for all of Tonga.

Authorities in the nearby island nations of Fiji and Samoa also issued warnings, telling people to avoid the shoreline due to strong currents and dangerous waves.

The Islands Business news site reported that a convoy of police and military troops had transported Tonga’s King Tupou VI from his palace near the shore as residents headed for higher ground.

The explosion of the Hunga Tonga Hunga Ha’apai volcano was the latest in a series of spectacular eruptions.

A Twitter user identified as Dr Faka’iloatonga Taumoefolau posted video showing waves crashing ashore.

“Can literally hear the volcano eruption, sounds pretty violent,” he wrote, adding in a later post: “Raining ash and tiny pebbles, darkness blanketing the sky.”

Earlier, the Matangi Tonga news site reported that scientists observed massive explosions, thunder and lightning near the volcano after it started erupting early on Friday.

The site said satellite images showed a three mile-wide plume of ash, steam and gas rising almost 20 kilometres miles into the air.

Approximately 2,253 kilometres miles away in New Zealand, officials warned of storm surges from the eruption.

The National Emergency Management Agency said some parts could expect “strong and unusual currents and unpredictable surges at the shore following a large volcanic eruption”.

Late on Saturday, the Pacific Tsunami Warning Centre said the threat to American Samoa appeared to have passed, although minor sea fluctuations could continue.

The volcano is about 40 miles north of the Tongan capital Nuku’alofa. In late 2014 and early 2015, a series of eruptions in the area created a small new island and disrupted international air travel to the Pacific archipelago for several days.

Tonga is home to about 105,000 people. — Associated Press

1 million COVID tests that expired in a Florida warehouse get FDA's permission for use.

1 million COVID tests that expired in a Florida warehouse get FDA's permission for use.

The FDA has extended the shelf life of up to 1 million expired COVID tests that were confirmed to have been stockpiled in a Florida warehouse last week, as the state deals with spike of cases. CBSN is CBS News’ 24/7 digital streaming news service ...

This is a 'slow-moving train wreck' of a presidency: Buck Sexton.

This is a 'slow-moving train wreck' of a presidency: Buck Sexton.

Buck Sexton, co-host of The Buck Sexton and Clay Travis Show, weighs in as Democratic approval of Biden drops 19 points from spring 2021. #FoxNews ... BUCK SEXTON: Unless there is some major pivot, they're heading into annihilation in the midterms...

One Dead in Southern India’s Traditional Bull-Taming Festival.

One Dead in Southern India’s Traditional Bull-Taming Festival.

A person died and dozens were injured at the annual traditional bull-taming festival, 'Jallikattu' in southern India's Madurai district, Friday, January 14, 2022. 'Jallikattu' is an Indian version of the Spanish sport that doesn't aim to kill the ...

Winter freeze, Bronx fire, Georgia Bulldogs: Week in Photos.

Winter freeze, Bronx fire, Georgia Bulldogs: Week in Photos.

A look at the week's top photos from around the globe.

Jon Stewart calls national anthem a 'weird ritual' at games.

Jon Stewart calls national anthem a 'weird ritual' at games.

The ‘Outnumbered’ panel reacts to Jon Stewart’s comments on standing for the national anthem during sports games. #FoxNews Subscribe to Fox News! Watch more Fox News Video: Watch Fox News Channel Live: FOX News Channel (FNC) is a 24-hour all-encom...

Massive cyberattack breaches several Ukrainian government websites.

Massive cyberattack breaches several Ukrainian government websites.

Ukrainian officials are assessing the damage caused by a massive cyberattack on several of its government websites. CBS News cybersecurity analyst and former director of the U.S. Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency Chris Krebs says he...