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Home / News / Science / Southern California, entire West Coast beaches face tsunami warning

Southern California, entire West Coast beaches face tsunami warning

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Southland beaches were under a tsunami warning Saturday after an underwater volcano erupted in the South Pacific.

People were advised to move off the beach and out of the harbors and marinas, avoid the coastline and not to go to the coast to watch the tsunami.

All beaches in Orange County and many beaches and piers in Los Angeles County were closed, but no evacuation orders were in place.

Waves capable of producing strong currents hazardous to swimmers, boats and coastal structures were expected to arrive starting at 7:50 a.m. Wave heights of 1 to 2 feet were expected.

“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.

The NWS said at 7:05 a.m. that there were “no significant concerns about inundation.”

The agency reported at 10:14 that “tsunami surging has been reported at all coastal locations,” including 1 foot in Los Angeles.

The warning was in effect for Alaska, Hawaii and the entire West Coast.

The Hunga Tonga-Hunga Ha’apai volcano, near Tonga, erupted late Friday. A tsunami hit Tonga’s largest island, Tongatapu, according to CNN, which reported that waves were flooding the capital.

Many Southland beaches and piers were closed, but no evacuation orders were in place.

The Santa Monica Fire Department said the tsunami was not expected to cause major damage to beaches or to the Santa Monica Pier.

Seismologist Lucy Jones, founder of the Dr. Lucy Jones Center for Science and Society, said the expected short-term increase of 1-3 feet in sea level would only be an issue near the beach.

“Tsunamis are not one wave. It’s more like sloshing and that sloshing can continue for a day. Just because the first wave has passed, it is not time to go see the beach,” Jones tweeted, adding that “much tsunami damage happens in ports because of the currents. Moving water has huge momentum.”

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