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The original item was published from 1/15/2022 10:49:21 AM to 1/19/2022 12:00:00 AM.

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Posted on: January 15, 2022

[ARCHIVED] Tsunami Advisory in Place for Central Coast for January 15, 2022

Last night (1/14/2022) at about 10:30 pm Pacific Standard Time, there was an underwater volcanic eruption near the island nation of Tonga that created a pacific-wide tsunami.  Early this morning the National Tsunami Warning Center issued a tsunami advisory for the entire West Coast of the US, Alaska and Hawaii.  While widespread inundation was not expected, the public was advised to move out of the water and off beaches, and away from harbors, marinas, breakwaters, bays and inlets.


Before daybreak, the Harbor Department coordinated with the City of Morro Bay Police and Fire Departments and the US Coast Guard on a united front to address the advisory.  All public beach access points were posted with the advisory language, and the situation monitored.  Out of an abundance of caution, the Coast Guard and Harbor Patrol took their vessels offshore initially, but have since been recalled.  No evacuations were advised or contemplated.


While the first tsunami waves were forecast to arrive on the Central Coast around 7:40 this morning, we began seeing small flow surges against the underlying tidal flow around 7:15, and have seen peak surges of about four feet up and down over 20 minute periods.  So far the highest tide gauge surge readings have been at eight feet, with the low of the surges about four feet. 


While so far we have seen no widespread flooding or damage, significant current flows, including potentially dangerous eddies and whirlpools, have been observed, mostly in the harbor entrance and Target Rock areas, and the public is advised to heed the tsunami advisory information.  In addition, the beach north of Morro Rock has been occasionally inundated to the sand dunes on the higher surges.


We continue to monitor the situation with our agency partners and advise the public accordingly, and will adjust messaging or actions if the Tsunami Warning Center issues new information or guidance warranting a change.


Tsunami surges are expected to continue throughout the day today, so the public is advised to remain wary and heed the advice coming out of the National Tsunami Warning Center:

Move out of the water and off beaches, and away from harbors, marinas, breakwaters, bays and inlets.

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