The National Tsunami Warning Center has cancelled sweeping advisories that blanketed much of coastal British Columbia on Saturday and cautioned residents to be mindful of potential strong currents and waves along local shorelines.
The advisories, issued early on Saturday morning and lifted shortly after 3 p.m. local time, followed a volcanic eruption in the Pacific Basin near the Tonga Islands.
It had been in place for four zones, including Haida Gwaii, the central coast, and the northeast and outer west coast of Vancouver Island as well as the Juan de Fuca Strait to Greater Victoria.
Provincial Public Safety Minister Mike Farnworth said the risk was limited to increased tidal currents and cautioned residents in at-risk areas to stay away from beaches, shorelines and marinas before the advisory was lifted.
He said several communities along the coast activated their emergency plans overnight.
Two emergency notification alerts had been issued to emergency managers, and local communities were informing residents as per their emergency protocols for an advisory of this type, Farnworth said.
“Although this is not a tsunami warning, this event demonstrates that coastal warning systems do work,” he said earlier Saturday.
Sylvan Daugert, co-fire chief in the village of Massett, B.C. said he received just one of the two public alerts the community sent to residents shortly after the center issued its bulletins.
“So that’s disappointing,” he said.
But Daugert, who is also the public works superintendent in the village, said he was less concerned than he was initially after learning that wave heights in Alaska reached 35 centimetres or less. There was no immediate word on wave heights in and around B.C.
The U.S. National Weather Service confirmed that a tsunami had been generated by the eruption and issued warnings for several western coastal areas, including Alaska and B.C.
The National Tsunami Warning Center also issued advisories for the coast of California to the Mexican border and the coasts of Oregon and Washington and the Aleutian Islands.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 15, 2022.
The Canadian Press