Parts of New Zealand are also under tsunami warning after a violent eruption of the Hunga-Tonga-Hunga-Ha’apai submarine volcano in Tonga this afternoon.
A tsunami has hit Tonga’s largest island, Tongatapu, with tidal waves crossing the coastline of the capital Nuku’alofa and flooding roads and coastal properties.
US Stormwatch tweeted that the volcanic eruption was one of the most violent ever captured by satellite.
There is panic and people are worried and unsure what to do, RNZ Pacific reporters say.
The advisory for the north and east coast of the North Island and the Chatham Islands came at around 8:45 p.m. from NEMA (the National Emergency Management Agency).
He said people in those areas could experience strong, unusual currents and unpredictable surges on the shore.
People are urged to stay away from beaches and coastal areas until 4am tomorrow.
It is not necessary to evacuate other areas unless directly notified by the local civil protection authorities.
Coastal flooding (flooding of land areas near the shore) is not expected as a result of this event.
A Tonga-wide tsunami warning was issued just after 5:30 p.m. by the Tonga Meteorological Service.
Waves hit the main island, Tongatapu, including its capital, Nuku’alofa.
It is dark now in Nuku’alofa and ash is falling and people can see lightning in the ash clouds.
Phone connections are down and it’s hard for people to reach out.
A tsunami advisory is also in place for Samoa.
Follow live updates from RNZ.