Parts of the United States are under a tsunami warning after a volcanic eruption in the South Pacific.
Tsunami impacts have begun to hit the west coast as officials warn of unpredictable currents, waves and tides, which could endanger swimmers and boats at sea.
The eruption occurred more than 8,000 kilometers from the majority of west coast sites near Tonga.
The tsunami caused people to rush to higher ground and disrupted communication with the nation.
A tsunami advisory is in effect for Hawaii, Alaska and the U.S. Pacific Coast as officials urge people to avoid beaches and marinas.
In Southern California, beaches and piers were closed as a precaution due to possible strong rip currents.
However, the National Weather Service said there were “no major flooding concerns”.
The first waves arrived before 9 a.m. on the southern Oregon coast and were over a foot high, while the central California coast saw waves of up to 2.5 feet. Higher waves are expected to arrive later in the day.
The National Weather Service warned people to stay away from ports and not travel to coastal destinations to watch the tsunami.
The San Diego County, Oregon, Public Safety Office tweeted: “Please stay away from the beach and harbors and marinas. Avoid the coastline. Do not go on the coast to watch the tsunami.”
Despite this, however, crowds still gathered at the Port of Santa Cruz on Saturday morning to watch.
Flooding was reported in the Port San Luis beach parking lots, where the NWS observed a nearly three-foot surge.
Seismologist Lucy Jones warned residents of affected areas to stay away from beaches, adding that moving water has a “tremendous momentum” that can damage harbor areas.
She said: “Tsunamis aren’t a wave. They’re more like sloshing and that sloshing can go on for a day. Just because the first wave has passed doesn’t mean it’s time to go see the Beach.”
Videos on social media showed large waves crashing in Tonga.
The Tonga Meteorological Service said waves of 2.7ft had been recorded and issued a tsunami warning for the entire archipelago.
Fortunately, no injuries were immediately reported.