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Tide gauge surge readings get up to 8 feet in Morro Bay during tsunami advisory

Morro Bay Harbor Patrol.PNG
Posted at 12:52 PM, Jan 15, 2022

The City of Morro Bay worked with its police and fire departments Saturday morning to address a tsunami advisory in effect for the West Coast following an underwater volcanic eruption near the Pacific nation of Tonga.

The advisory, which is a level below a warning but above a watch, means people should stay out of the water and away from the shore due to potentially strong currents and dangerous waves.

While the first tsunami waves were expected around 7:40 a.m., officials in Morro Bay say they “began seeing small flow surges against the underlying tidal flow around 7:15, and have seen peak surges of about four feet up and down over 20 minute periods.”

The highest tide gauge surge readings in Morro Bay have been at eight feet, officials said, with the lowest at about four feet.

Early Saturday morning, signs went up at all public beach access points in Morro Bay warning of the situation.

Officials say the Coast Guard and Harbor Patrol took their vessels offshore out of an abundance of caution but have since moved them back.

They add that no evacuations were advised or considered but the public was advised to move out of the water and is encouraged to stay off beaches and away from harbors, marinas, breakwaters, bays and inlets for the rest of the day.

Late in the morning, the Harbor Patrol could be seen checking boats in the harbor and with the water at times moving fast out of the harbor, some paddleboarders were struggling against the current.

No major flooding or damage along the Central Coast has been reported.