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Beaches were closed this morning from the Sunshine Coast to the New South Wales border, after a violent eruption, which was seen from space and heard as far away as Alaska over 9000km away.

Warnings in Tasmania, Victoria and Queensland and Macquarie Island are no longer in effect, a Bureau of Meteorology spokesperson said.

Bondi Beach was open this morning and then closed again due to a tsunami warning after a South Pacific undersea volcano erupted off Tonga.
Bondi Beach was open this morning and then closed again due to a tsunami warning after a South Pacific undersea volcano erupted off Tonga. (SMH / Edwina Pickles)
A satellite image taken by Himawari-8, a Japanese weather satellite, shows the undersea volcano eruption near Tonga.
A satellite image taken by Himawari-8, a Japanese weather satellite, shows the undersea volcano eruption near Tonga. (Japan Meteorology Agency / AP)

However, warnings remain in effect for the marine environment in New South Wales, Lord Howe Island and Norfolk Island.

The BoM said there is the possibility of dangerous rips, strong ocean currents and some localised overflow onto the immediate foreshore.

“While evacuations are not necessary for marine threat areas, people in these areas are advised to get out of the water and move away from the immediate water’s edge,” the BoM said.

Last night Bondi Beach was evacuated around 10:30pm, with police and SES calling everyone off the beach and away from the ocean.

This morning Bondi Beach was briefly open, with regular surf safety flags put out for swimmers, but the flags were soon taken down with everyone discouraged from entering the beach.
Volcano eruption near Tonga looper

Blast so big it was seen from space

Nippers at Bondi has been cancelled, but so far no decision has been made over the possible cancellation of an Ironman series event set to take place at the Sydney beach today.

“Can I just ask everybody to please follow the instructions of the SES, of surf lifesaving,” Premier Dominic Perrottet said.

“Beaches are closed, please do not swim.”

The Bureau of Meteorology is monitoring potential threats, and State Emergency Services (SES) Commissioner Carlene York said she expected beaches to be closed until 4pm (AEST).

She anticipated a 1.1-metre tsunami wave recorded at Lord Howe Island would eventually hit NSW.

Lord Howe Island also experienced unusual currents and waves, according to reports.

There were reports of tsunami waves nearly one-metre high off the NSW coast at Port Kembla and near Twofold Bay.

Tsunami advisories were issued for New Zealand, Hawaii, Alaska and the US Pacific coast.

In the US, a tsunami surge swamped a car park in Santa Cruz, California.

All the water receded before it flooded again.

A tsunami surge inundates the parking lot at the top of the Upper Harbor in Santa Cruz, California.
A tsunami surge inundates the parking lot at the top of the Upper Harbor in Santa Cruz, California. (AP)
In this satellite photo taken by Planet Labs PBC, an island created by the underwater Hunga Tonga Hunga Ha'apai volcano is seen smoking on January 7. An undersea volcano erupted near Tonga yesterday, sending large tsunami waves crashing across the shore and people rushing to higher ground.
In this satellite photo taken by Planet Labs PBC, an island created by the underwater Hunga Tonga Hunga Ha’apai volcano is seen smoking on January 7. An undersea volcano erupted near Tonga yesterday, sending large tsunami waves crashing across the shore and people rushing to higher ground. (AP)

On Tonga, home to about 105,000 people, video posted to social media showed large waves washing ashore in coastal areas, swirling around homes, a church and other buildings.

Tonga’s King Tupou VI was evacuated from the Royal Palace, with a convoy of police and troops rushing the monarch to a villa at Mata Ki Eua, according to reports.

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

Ash was falling from the sky in the capital of Nuku’alofa on Saturday evening and phone connections were down, Radio New Zealand reported.

A spokesperson for the United Nations offices in the Pacific “are closely monitoring the situation and are on standby to provide support if requested”.

“The Secretary-General is deeply concerned by the reports of a tsunami and ash affecting Tonga, as well as of resulting tsunami warnings that have been issued in other countries,” the spokesperson said.

“The Secretary-General is grateful to countries that have already offered their support.”

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

Earth imaging company Planet Labs PBC had watched the island in recent days after a new volcanic vent there began erupting in late December.

Satellite images captured by the company show how drastically the volcano had shaped the area, creating a growing island off Tonga.

Source: 9News

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