The United States, Australia and Japan warn of a Tsunami

Stay away from the beach - the United States and Japan warn of a Tsunami.

The United States and Japan advised people on their Pacific coasts to stay offshore as a precaution against a tsunami caused by an erupting volcano in the South Pacific.

Japan warned of waves up to three meters high and waves 1.2 meters high in the country's south.

The United States warned of strong currents, waves, and coastal floods.

A massive underwater volcanic eruption sent waves over a meter long, crashing into Tonga.

The volcano Hangunga Tonga Hawapai was heard across the South Pacific and eventually as far away as the United States.

Ash covers many parts of Tonga, whose capital is 65 kilometers (40 miles) south of the eruption, and experiences near-total blackouts in power, phone lines, and internet services. The extent of any injuries or damages remains unclear.

Resident Meri Tofa said the explosion occurred while her family was preparing for dinner, and her younger brother believed the bombs were exploding nearby.

The next thing she knew, Mrs. Tova said, was the flow of water into their house.

Tonga Geological Services said plumes of gas, smoke, and ash flowing from the volcano reached 20 kilometers into the sky.

Map of the location of Tonga in the South Pacific Ocean, close-up showing a massive plume of ash and steam seen from a satellite

Map of the area of Tonga in the South Pacific Ocean, close-up showing an enormous plume of ash and smoke seen from a satellite

In Japan, a 1.2-meter-long tsunami was recorded in the Kominato area of ​​Amami Oshima island at 23:55 on Saturday.

According to officials in Suva, the first eight-minute eruption was so violent that a "thunder rumble" was heard in Fiji, more than 800 km away.

The Fiji government has issued a tsunami warning and has opened evacuation centers for people in coastal areas. Vanuatu, another Pacific island nation, issued a similar warning.

Professor Shane Cronin, a volcanologist at the University of Auckland, said the eruption was among the largest in Tonga in the past 30 years.

"This is a huge event - it's one of the most significant volcanic eruptions in at least the last decade," he told the BBC.

"The most striking thing was how quickly and violently it spread. This was larger, a much wider lateral spread, and more ash was produced. I expect there will be several centimeters of ash deposited in Tonga."

An Australian government spokesman said the Prime Minister and foreign minister monitored the situation and were ready to provide support upon request.

This tsunami warning has been issued for parts of the east coast of Australia and Tasmania.

In New Zealand, more than 2,300 km from Tonga, the National Emergency Management Agency said  areas on the coast in  the north and east coast of the North Island could experience "strong, unusual currents and unexpected coastal surges."

The local forecaster, Weather Watch, tweeted about the explosion: "The release of energy is simply amazing," adding: "Reports by people who heard the sound barrier screeching across New Zealand."

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