Shockwaves from Tonga tsunami reached Cyprus

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The shockwaves triggered by the huge undersea volcano eruption in Tonga in the Pacific reached Cyprus nearly 17,000 km away, said Department of Meteorology Director Kleanthis Nicolaides.

Speaking to CNA, Nicolaides said that at 22:00 Saturday, the Department’s observation systems at the airports of Larnaca and Paphos recorded an abrupt change in atmospheric pressure, which is under examination.

He said that at 22:00 local time, Saturday atmospheric pressure at 1,011 units rose in a few minutes to 1,012.5 units before declining to 1,009.

“This abrupt change in pressure is the footprint of the shockwave of the undersea volcano eruption reaching the region of Cyprus and even further to the east.”

Nicolaides said these are unusual phenomena, “but it seems that the huge eruption of the undersea volcano triggered the pressure change thousands of kilometres away.”

He added that the shockwave travelled with tremendous speeds, almost a thousand kilometres per hour.

Nicolaides said this eruption will not have any effect in the region “as the phenomenon has passed.”

An underwater volcano in the South Pacific caused tsunamis to hit Hawaii, Japan, and Tonga’s largest island, Tongatapu — sending waves flooding into the capital.

The eruptions sent a plume of ash, gas and steam 20 kilometres into the air.

Satellite imagery showed a massive ash cloud and shockwaves spreading from the eruption.

Ash fell from the sky in the Tonga capital, Nuku’alofa, and phone connections were down.

The eruption caused a severe tsunami on Tongatapu, where the capital is located, with waves flowing onto coastal roads and flooding properties.

Telecommunications were affected, though it’s not clear how widespread the damage is yet.

The eruption also had effects across the Pacific, as tsunami warnings and advisories were issued from New Zealand and Japan to the United States and Canada’s British Columbia.

According to the National Weather Service office in San Diego, the eruption also sent waves to the US West Coast, with some exceeding 3 and 4 feet in height.