About the warning: No, a big tsunami is not expected in our area because of the Tonga eruption

10:09 AM: Your phone might have just sounded an alarm saying King County is under a tsunami advisory because of the big volcanic eruption in the South Pacific that happened last night:

It’s important to know this does NOT mean the stereotypical giant wave (which would be a possibility if the event were somewhere nearby). Even on the open ocean coast, the “tsunami” might be 1 to 3 feet – but do heed warnings if you happen to be visiting that area.

10:19 AM: Here’s a map of where the eruption happened.

3:14 PM: And if you’re still worried, note that the state Emergency Management department clarified that the advisory is not for areas like ours. Meantime, one commenter asked what to do if there WAS a serious tsunami threat – short answer is to head inland/uphill, much longer answer (and lots more info) is here.

5:20 PM: For the areas of our state’s ocean coast that WERE under an advisory, it’s been canceled.

22 Replies to "About the warning: No, a big tsunami is not expected in our area because of the Tonga eruption"

  • Coastliner January 15, 2022 (10:19 am)

    Thank you. What Puget Sound areas are expected to be impacted? 

  • HS January 15, 2022 (10:26 am)

    Pretty amazing full planet view if you haven’t seen already. https://www.reddit.com/r/space/comments/s4mi7w/tongas_hunga_tonga_volcano_just_had_one_of_the/?utm_source=share&utm_medium=mweb3x

    • Taryn January 15, 2022 (11:58 am)

      Wow, what a view, thanks for sharing!

  • Neal January 15, 2022 (10:28 am)

    The arrival time was supposed to be 8:30 on the coast.  Not withstanding the fact that inland was not expecting damage, I got the text message at about 10:05 which, I’m thinking, is sort of a little late.

  • Liz January 15, 2022 (10:33 am)

  • Neal January 15, 2022 (10:41 am)

    Here is a link to the real-time NOAA tide gauge at the waterfront, Seattle.https://tidesandcurrents.noaa.gov/stationhome.html?id=9447130

  • Graciano January 15, 2022 (10:47 am)

    Like pulling the fire alarm after the building already burnt to the ground.. just a little late.

  • Private January 15, 2022 (10:50 am)

    U.S. Tsunami Warning System (https://tsunami.gov/) – you can zoom in on the map or click on the individual alerts underneath.

  • k January 15, 2022 (11:03 am)

    I read that affected areas should expect waves like we see with king tides, every few hours.  Not something to leave the area for, but maybe not a good day to take a walk on the beach either.

  • Greg January 15, 2022 (11:07 am)

    What phone alert?  Did KC somehow target the alert to folks at or near sea level?  Looks like a heck of an eruption over in Tonga.

    • WSB January 15, 2022 (11:15 am)

      Might have been carrier-specific as with the day of the misplaced tornado alert some months back, but multiple phones here at HQ went off (and we’re a couple hundred feet uphill).

    • Mikah January 15, 2022 (11:30 am)

      My new phone didn’t get the alert, but my old phone (which has been deactivated for a year) did get it.. Both with Verizon.  Quite mysterious. 

      • WSB January 15, 2022 (11:54 am)

        Is the old phone still connecting to wi-fi? One of ours that sounded the alarm is only used to connect to wi-fi (we have both Comcast and CLink, don’t know which one it’s using) for music services but used to be Verizon.

      • k January 15, 2022 (12:15 pm)

        My new phone allows me to opt in or out of alerts, which my old phone did not.  Maybe it’s a setting.

  • Neal January 15, 2022 (11:22 am)

    I have received a few 4-5 alerts via text in the past. All were pretty accurate, but usually not very timely, and I did send an email to the director about it. We are at 350 feet above sea level here, and it was an Iphone SE, on Verizion plan. 

  • SJ January 15, 2022 (1:36 pm)

    Thankfully not an issue today, but if this had been more dangerous, what should residents do? Staying away from the shoreline seems obvious, but what else? 

    When we got the alert, I realized I didn’t have much of a plan ready…

    (BTW, we were messaged via T-Mobile and Alexa ~10am)

  • Mike January 15, 2022 (2:13 pm)

    Just sayin’ – this quake happened tomorrow.  Across the International Dateline.

  • Neal January 15, 2022 (3:44 pm)

    SJ you must be new here. There are all kinds of disaster preparedness info, classes, etc. available. Start with the Wa. State Health Dept., and then King County Office of Emergency Management for info.. Lots of U-tube videos from them too.Also as an FYI, Beveridge Place Pub is 200 feet above sea level, and Best of Hands is about 500 feet up. (Smiley Face Emoticon)

    • Peter January 15, 2022 (4:55 pm)

      The beer is safe!

  • Brian January 15, 2022 (6:32 pm)

    My wife got the alert on her phone but I didn’t even though we were sitting next to each other at the time, we have the same phone plan and same phone model. Then like an hour and a half later I got the alert. Seems like a bad system to me?

    • Timber! January 16, 2022 (8:47 pm)

      Same here. My daughter and I were actually en route to hop on the ferry when she got the alert. I never did get any alert whatsoever. I never would have known a thing about it if she hadn’t been in the car with me. Kinda worrisome; what if it had actually been something more serious?? I have Verizon; she’s with Sprint. Wonder if it’s a carrier thing.

Sorry, comment time is over.