Watch CBS News

Tsunami Advisory Forces Beach Closures Up And Down Orange County Coastline

LOS ANGELES (CBSLA) - The National Weather Service issued a tsunami advisory for all Southern California beaches following an underwater volcano eruption near the Pacific nation of Tonga.

In Orange County, the sheriff's department did their best to alert anyone out on the beach that it was potentially unsafe.

"Attention in the area, this is the Orange County Sheriff's Department, this is a tsunami advisory," deputies announced over the loudspeaker from their chopper.

Jan. 15, 2022 (CBSLA)

While most beaches were barren, there were still plenty of surfers out riding waves in Newport Beach.

"I was expecting the big tsunami wave, but it never came in," said surfer Sam Williams.

Another surfer, Joshua Useldinger, said he also hoped for some bigger waves than he found, when asked if he'd heard about the advisory.

"Yeah, it was really exciting. I was thinking it was going to make it better, but it felt a little flat," he said.

The epicenter of the action was in the South Pacific nation of Tonga, where satellite images from the NWS showed an underwater volcano erupting.

Tsunami 1
Satellite image of the underwater eruption

In the Northern California city of Half Moon Bay, surges of water rushed ashore as a result of the eruption, but in Southern California, the NWS did not expect any inundation of water, though warned that strong rip currents could be hazardous.

None of that, however, deterred surfers like Useldinger who had to play a bit of cat and mouse with the authorities.

"You just wait until they leave, then you go in," he said.

The tsunami advisory also didn't stop some Manhattan Beach residents, like Katherine Strohlein and Joanna Garel, from heading to the shore's edge in hopes of seeing something unusual.

"...then the tsunami warning in and I said, 'Plan D.' She says, 'No dude. Let's go look at the tsunami!" Strohlein said of Garel.

"I'm sorry. We're supposed to listen to the warning," Garel responded, "but we're kind of rebels, stupidity."

The NWS said tsunamis are not typically started in this manner. Most often, they come after an underwater earthquake, but in this instance, it was an underwater explosion of molten rock and lava that displaced the ocean above it.

View CBS News In
CBS News App Open
Chrome Safari Continue
Be the first to know
Get browser notifications for breaking news, live events, and exclusive reporting.