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Orange County beaches were ordered closed Saturday after a tsunami advisory for Hawaii, Alaska and the U.S. Pacific Coast was issued following the eruption of an undersea volcano near Tonga, which  sent large waves crashing across the shore in that nation as people rushed to higher ground.

As of Saturday evening, no unusual sightings or damage were reported in Orange County, and no evacuations had been announced. The advisory was lifted by 7:25 p.m. and officials planned to open Orange County beaches to the public Sunday morning.

The tsunami – the biggest such threat to the West Coast in a decade – arrived in Orange County early Saturday morning, said National Weather Service meteorologist Brian Adams. The agency advised people to move off beaches and away from harbors and marinas, and to not go to the coast to watch.

But there really wasn’t much to see.

A tsunami can create dangerous rip currents for many hours after its arrival, the NWS said. There still was the possibility of threats to boats or coastal structures because of the currents, but “We are not seeing any damage or major impacts in Orange County,” Carrie Braun, spokeswoman for the Orange County Sheriff’s Department, said late Saturday morning.

Prior to the lifting of the advisory, swimmers and surfers were advised to stay out of the water throughout the day.

“Tsunami waves have started to arrive and will continue through this afternoon. Please stay away from any beaches or harbors!” the NWS tweeted at one point.

The Sheriff’s Department had sent out a public safety phone alert at 7:18 a.m. announcing that Orange County beaches and harbors were closed. Seal Beach closed its beaches at 6 a.m.

#Tsunami waves have started to arrive and will continue through this afternoon. Please stay away from any beaches or harbors! #cawx pic.twitter.com/gPO8NiHsir

— NWS San Diego (@NWSSanDiego) January 15, 2022

See also: What do the different tsunami alerts mean?

Newport Beach lifeguard chief Brian O’Rourke said lifeguards and police were keeping people off the beach and closed the city’s two piers and the harbor entrance. “We’re just going up and warning people at this point,” he said. Officials also were watching areas prone to flooding, including the Balboa Peninsula.

  • Pelicans sail over a surfer in Huntington Beach on Saturday, January 15, 2022 where a tsunami advisory was in place. (Photo by Mindy Schauer, Orange County Register/SCNG)

  • People gather along the cliff overlooking the Pacific Ocean on Ocean Boulevard in Corona del Mar to see if any waves were coming ashore early Saturday morning, January 15, 2022, after a tsunami advisory was issued for Hawaii and the U.S. West Coast following an undersea volcano eruption near the Pacific nation of Tonga on Saturday. No unusual sightings or damages were reported in Southern California, and no evacuations had been ordered. (Photo by Mark Rightmire, Orange County Register/SCNG)

  • Newport Beach Police Department vehicles are parked on the beach in Newport Beach early Saturday morning, January 15, 2022, after a tsunami advisory was issued for Hawaii and the U.S. West Coast following an undersea volcano eruption near the Pacific nation of Tonga on Saturday. No unusual sightings or damages were reported in Southern California, and no evacuations had been ordered. (Photo by Mark Rightmire, Orange County Register/SCNG)

  • A tsunami hazard sign is posted on a light pole near the Balboa Pier in Newport Beach on Saturday morning, January 15, 2022. A tsunami advisory was issued for Hawaii and the U.S. West Coast following an undersea volcano eruption near the Pacific nation of Tonga on Saturday. No unusual sightings or damages were reported in Southern California, and no evacuations had been ordered. (Photo by Mark Rightmire, Orange County Register/SCNG)

  • Visitors encounter a closed gate on the Balboa Pier in Newport Beach early Saturday morning, January 15, 2022, after a tsunami advisory was issued for Hawaii and the U.S. West Coast following an undersea volcano eruption near the Pacific nation of Tonga on Saturday. No unusual sightings or damages were reported in Southern California, and no evacuations had been ordered. (Photo by Mark Rightmire, Orange County Register/SCNG)

  • People gather in the rain along a cliff overlooking the Pacific Ocean on Ocean Boulevard in Corona del Mar to see if any waves were coming ashore early Saturday morning, January 15, 2022, after a tsunami advisory was issued for Hawaii and the U.S. West Coast following an undersea volcano eruption near the Pacific nation of Tonga on Saturday. No unusual sightings or damages were reported in Southern California, and no evacuations had been ordered. (Photo by Mark Rightmire, Orange County Register/SCNG)

  • A couple stands on a closed Newport Pier in Newport Beach early Saturday morning, January 15, 2022, after a tsunami advisory was issued for Hawaii and the U.S. West Coast following an undersea volcano eruption near the Pacific nation of Tonga on Saturday. No unusual sightings or damages were reported in Southern California, and no evacuations had been ordered. (Photo by Mark Rightmire, Orange County Register/SCNG)

  • Surfers take to the water just north of the Newport Pier in Newport Beach early Saturday morning, January 15, 2022, after a tsunami advisory was issued for Hawaii and the U.S. West Coast following an undersea volcano eruption near the Pacific nation of Tonga on Saturday. No unusual sightings or damages were reported in Southern California, and no evacuations had been ordered. (Photo by Mark Rightmire, Orange County Register/SCNG)

  • A couple walks in the rain along the beach in Newport Beach early Saturday morning, January 15, 2022, after a tsunami advisory was issued for Hawaii and the U.S. West Coast following an undersea volcano eruption near the Pacific nation of Tonga on Saturday. No unusual sightings or damages were reported in Southern California, and no evacuations had been ordered. (Photo by Mark Rightmire, Orange County Register/SCNG)

  • Boats are moored near the entrance of Newport Harbor in Newport Beach early Saturday morning, January 15, 2022, after a tsunami advisory was issued for Hawaii and the U.S. West Coast following an undersea volcano eruption near the Pacific nation of Tonga on Saturday. No unusual sightings or damages were reported in Southern California, and no evacuations had been ordered. (Photo by Mark Rightmire, Orange County Register/SCNG)

  • People gather in the rain along a cliff overlooking the Pacific Ocean on Ocean Boulevard in Corona del Mar to see if any waves were coming ashore early Saturday morning, January 15, 2022, after a tsunami advisory was issued for Hawaii and the U.S. West Coast following an undersea volcano eruption near the Pacific nation of Tonga on Saturday. No unusual sightings or damages were reported in Southern California, and no evacuations had been ordered. (Photo by Mark Rightmire, Orange County Register/SCNG)

  • The Balboa Pier in Newport Beach is closed early Saturday morning, January 15, 2022, after a tsunami advisory was issued for Hawaii and the U.S. West Coast following an undersea volcano eruption near the Pacific nation of Tonga on Saturday. No unusual sightings or damages were reported in Southern California, and no evacuations had been ordered. (Photo by Mark Rightmire, Orange County Register/SCNG)

  • With a tsunami advisory in effect, Huntington Beach lifeguards patrol the closed beaches on Saturday, January 15, 2022. (Photo by Mindy Schauer, Orange County Register/SCNG)

  • A soggy sign warns visitors that Huntington Beach is closed because a tsunami advisory is in effect on Saturday, January 15, 2022. (Photo by Mindy Schauer, Orange County Register/SCNG)

  • Waves kick up in Huntington Beach on Saturday, January 15, 2022 where a tsunami advisory was in place. (Photo by Mindy Schauer, Orange County Register/SCNG)

  • A surfer bails from a wave in Huntington Beach on Saturday, January 15, 2022 where a tsunami advisory was in place. (Photo by Mindy Schauer, Orange County Register/SCNG)

  • Although beaches are closed because a tsunami advisory is in effect, people gather at the shoreline to watch the surf in Huntington Beach on Saturday, January 15, 2022. (Photo by Mindy Schauer, Orange County Register/SCNG)

  • A scene from the beach in San Clemente after a tsunami advisory was issued for the U.S. West Coast and Orange County beaches were closed on Saturday, Jan. 15, 2022. (Photo by Laylan Connelly, Orange County Register/SCNG)

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Warnings about staying away from beaches and harbors also were issued in Los Angeles County, though officials did not announce the closure of any beaches.

Todd Mansur, a boat captain for Dana Wharf Sportfishing and Whale Watching, said he could feel a strong surge at about 8:30 a.m. as he pulled the fishing boat “Boardroom” out of the harbor as a precaution.

For a few seconds, it was hard to control the boat, the turbulent water pulling the 65-foot vessel in a different direction than he was steering.

“At idle, I had no steering, I had to throttle up to get control,” he said. “I had to increase power to gain stability so I could gain control of the vessel to get out of the harbor.”

There was no big rise or fall of the water, maybe a few inches, he said.

“But there was a lot of surge, basically like a strong current. There’s no wave, no height, you don’t see anything,” he said. “You could see the turbulence. That was about it.”

He’s been through four tsunami warnings through the years. The worst of them was in 2007 following an earthquake off Chile that sucked water out of the Dana Point Harbor.

“It’s like someone emptying the harbor out,” he said.

For this latest tsunami advisory, he had not heard of any damage in the harbor as of mid-morning, he said.

This was not your run of the mill way a #tsunami is generated. Most often its from plates shifting abruptly on the sea floor. This tsunami was essentially caused by a massive underwater explosion of molten rock and lava that displaced the water above it. pic.twitter.com/JyLwZYHcRp

— NWS Los Angeles (@NWSLosAngeles) January 15, 2022

Despite a warning to stay clear of the beach, lookie-loos showed up along the coast to see if there were any signs of the tsunami, watching the water carefully for any noticeable change. And some went surfing, anyway.

Guy Hargreaves of Dana Point got the alert on his phone early morning, admitting he was a bit nervous about his daughter Lanie’s beachfront wedding at the Ole Hanson Beach Club in San Clemente later in the afternoon.

“We all got the alerts. Everybody’s phone went off, I looked at my daughter to see if she’s OK,” he said. “She said ‘oh well … if rain is good luck, a tsunami must be really good luck’.”

He decided to walk down to the beach to check out if there were signs of rising seas.

“I don’t think it’s going to be a big deal,” he said. “If anything, it will just push up a little further than normal and that’s it.”

#OCTsunamiAdvisory remains in effect with water levels observed approx. one foot above normal along SoCal coast. With the possibility of strong currents, swimmers and surfers are reminded to stay out of the water. Beaches, harbors and piers remain closed in OC.

— OC Sheriff, CA (@OCSheriff) January 15, 2022

Surfer Marc Duncan was out in the water early before the beaches closed, then was warned by Orange County Sheriff officers that the beaches were under a tsunami advisory.

“We want you to know the risks,” they told him.

“It was flat,” he said. “I was kind of hoping I’d see something and catch it.”.

Here are the latest tsunami coastal observations from Alaska to California, including both San Diego (0.8 feet/23 cm) and La Jolla (0.6 feet/18 cm)… pic.twitter.com/ixSzhEeiez

— NWS San Diego (@NWSSanDiego) January 15, 2022

Carol Baker, spokeswoman for Los Angeles County Beaches and Harbors, said they did not close any beaches. They also did not activate the Beach Emergency Evacuation Lights System at Torrance Beach because the beach wasn’t closed. It was raining Saturday morning, few people were around and an advisory does not necessitate a siren, she said.

Had it been a Tsunami warning rather than an advisory, she said, different actions would have been taken depending on where the effects were anticipated.

Similar to Orange County, an advisory for Los Angeles County was canceled Saturday evening.

#TsunamiAdvisory for #LACounty has been CANCELLED. https://t.co/ddKMWdVcEt

— Alert SouthBay (@AlertSouthbay) January 16, 2022

“Seeing some surges on the Port San Luis tsunami gauge. Reporting up to a 24 cm residual so far. That’s 9.4 inches or about 19 inches from the bottom and top of the residual,” the National Weather Service’s Los Angeles office tweeted at 8:08 a.m., referring to San Luis Obispo County.

But Ventura County saw “unprecedented” tides Saturday, according to John Higgins, harbor master at Ventura Harbor.

A few docks in the Channel Island Harbor endured damage and one Harbor Patrol boat capsized during high currents around 10 a.m., Higgins said. Harbor Patrol was monitoring the high tides in the headquarters next to the dock and “by the time we were heading out the door,” he said, “we could hear (the boat) banging on the rocks.

“It was a freak accident … and we’re sad to lose a boat that has saved hundreds of lives,” Higgins said.

Crowds gathered at the Santa Cruz Harbor in California to watch the rising and falling water strain boat ties on docks. Law enforcement tried to clear people away when big surges started at around 7:30 a.m.

About an hour later, a surge went over the back lip of the harbor, filling a parking lot and low-lying streets and setting some cars afloat. In 2011 after the Japanese earthquake, a series of surges cost $20 million of damage in the harbor.

See also: Pacific volcano eruption prompts tsunami advisory for Bay Area

“It looks like everything will stay below the warning level, but it’s difficult to predict because this is a volcanic eruption, and we’re set up to measure earthquake or seismic-driven sea waves,” said Dave Snider, tsunami warning coordinator for the National Tsunami Warning Center in Palmer, Alaska.

In Tonga, there were no immediate reports of injuries or the extent of the damage as communications with the small nation remained cut off hours after the volcano’s eruption.

What's a #tsunami wave when there's a tsunami advisory? Think of them more as surges in the currents, which after arrival can create dangerous rip currents for many hours. Harbors and marinas would also experience these strong surges. See more at https://t.co/h1CR82bF8o.

— NWS Los Angeles (@NWSLosAngeles) January 15, 2022

Satellite images showed a huge underwater volcanic eruption, a plume of ash, steam and gas rising like a mushroom above the blue Pacific waters.

There is currently a Tsunami Advisory in effect for the City of Newport Beach. Swell/waves may be arriving between 7:30-8:00 am. Newport Beach beaches and piers will be closed until further notice. No evacuations are being ordered. https://t.co/6pdAV3bLvF

— City of Newport Beach (@newportbeachgov) January 15, 2022

Here is the current look at Half Moon Bay. You can see Pillar Point Harbor Patrol in the distance. #CaWx #California @sanmateoco @SMHarbor @NWSBayArea pic.twitter.com/z5HHnECtTE

— CAL FIRE CZU (@CALFIRECZU) January 15, 2022

Staff writers Nathaniel Percy and Hunter Lee and the Associated Press contributed to this report.

Source : https://www.dailynews.com/2022/01/15/west-coast-under-tsunami-advisory-after-volcano-erupts-in-pacific/

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