Tsunami alert issued for parts of coastal British Columbia

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 warnings warning of potential strong currents and waves are expected to be in place over large parts of coastal British Columbia in the next several hours.

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The announcement, released Saturday morning, covers four zones in BC. after 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 shores of central and northeastern Vancouver Islands, which include Kitimat, Bella Coola and Port Hardy.

The advice also applies to the outer west coast of Vancouver Island from Cape Scott to Port Renfrew, called Zone C, as well as Zone D, which stretches across the Juan de Fuca Strait from the Jordan River to the Greater Victoria including the Saanich Peninsula.

Provincial Secretary of Public Safety Mike Farnworth says the risk is limited to increased tidal currents and residents should stay away from beaches, coasts and marinas and follow local government guidelines until the guidelines are repealed.

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

“Emergency Management BC immediately activated the Provincial Emergency Co-ordination Center and all provincial regional operations centers on the coast, ”he said in a statement. “The agency has also supported local governments and First Nations with updates and a series of coordination calls.”

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Two emergency notices have been issued to emergency managers, and communities are informing residents according to their emergency protocols for counseling of this type, Farnworth said.

“While this is not a tsunami alert, this event demonstrates that coastal alert systems are working.”

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

“So it’s disappointing,” he said.

But Daugert, who is also the inspector of public works in the village, said he is less worried than he was originally after learning that the wave heights in Alaska reached 35 centimeters or less.

The US National Weather Service confirmed that a tsunami has been generated by the eruption and issued warnings for several western coastal areas, including Alaska and BC

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

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