Tsunami advisory issued for parts of British Columbia coast

The warnings cover Haida Gwaii, parts of the north coast including Kitimat and Bella Coola, and Vancouver Island from Cape Scott to Greater Victoria, including the Saanich Peninsula.

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The National Tsunami Warning Center says advisories warning of potentially strong currents and waves are expected to be in place along much of the British Columbia coast for the next few hours.

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The advisory issued Saturday morning covers four areas in British Columbia following a volcanic eruption in the Pacific Basin near the Tonga Islands.

Zone A covers the North Coast, including Haida Gwaii, while Zone B covers the central and northeast coasts of Vancouver Island, which include Kitimat, Bella Coola and Port Hardy.

The advisory also applies to the outer west coast of Vancouver Island from Cape Scott to Port Renfrew, dubbed Area C, as well as Area D, which spans the Strait of Juan de Fuca , from Jordan River to Greater Victoria, including the Saanich Peninsula.

Provincial Public Safety Minister Mike Farnworth said the risk is limited to increased tidal currents and residents should stay away from beaches, shorelines and marinas and follow government guidelines local until the advisory is lifted.

He says several communities along the coast activated their emergency plans overnight, Farnworth said.

“Emergency management BC immediately activated the provincial emergency coordination center and all provincial regional operations centers on the coast,” it said in a statement. “The agency also supported local governments and First Nations with updates and a series of coordination calls.”

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Two emergency notification alerts have been issued to emergency managers and local communities are notifying residents in accordance with their emergency protocols for such notice, Farnworth said.

“Although not a tsunami warning, this event demonstrates that coastal warning systems are working.”

Sylvan Daugert, co-fire chief for the village of Massett, B.C., said he only received one of two public alerts sent to residents shortly after the center issued its bulletins.

“So it’s disappointing,” he said.

But Daugert, who is also the village’s public works superintendent, said he was less concerned than he initially was after learning that wave heights in Alaska were 35 centimeters or less.

The US National Weather Service confirmed that a tsunami had been generated by the eruption and issued warnings for several western coastal regions, including Alaska and British Columbia.

The National Tsunami Warning Center has also issued advisories for the California coast to the Mexican border and the coasts of Oregon and Washington and the Aleutian Islands.

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