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How the Tonga eruption and tsunami impacts Australia

Three days after an underwater volcano erupted off the coast of Tonga, the impacts continue to reverberate around Australia.

The Hunga Tonga-Hunga Ha'apai volcano erupted at 3.10pm AEDT on Saturday, January 17.

The Bureau of Meteorology's Sarah Scully said the initial eruption sent a shockwave travelling 1000km/hr around the world. It was visible from space.

"Analysis of the main sea level pressure shows a bounce in atmospheric pressure as the shockwave travels west, reaching Norfolk Island first, then Brisbane, around 5:30pm local time, eventually reaching Perth near 7pm local time," Ms Scully said.

The meteorologist said the eruption generated an enormous amount of energy and triggered tsunamis throughout the Pacific Ocean, including off the east coast of Australia.

Waves, rips and closed beaches

A tsunami crashes through a fence in Tonga after the Hunga Tonga-Hunga Ha'apai volcano erupted at 3.10pm AEST on Saturday, January 17.

A tsunami crashes through a fence in Tonga after the Hunga Tonga-Hunga Ha'apai volcano erupted at 3.10pm AEST on Saturday, January 17.

The tsunami created unusual water conditions such as surging waves, flash rips and strong undertow at several locations along the east coast of Australia.

Many beaches were closed along the east coast on Sunday, although it did not stop surfers and swimmers from taking to the water.

The tsunami created a number of large waves in Australia, the largest of which was a 1.27m wave at Norfolk Island recorded about 9pm Saturday.

On the mainland, there was a 0.82m wave on the Gold Coast, a 0.77m wave at Twofold Bay, a 0.65m wave at Port Kembla and a 0.48m wave at Southport Jetty.

Tsunami warnings were temporarily in place for NSW, Queensland, Victoria and Tasmania.

Volcanic ash cloud

Queenslanders woke up to a pink and orange sunrise on Monday morning, which was caused by light reflecting through a huge ash cloud above the state.

Queenslanders woke up to a pink and orange sunrise on Monday morning, which was caused by light reflecting through a huge ash cloud above the state.

The eruption emitted volcanic ash 19km into the stratosphere, creating a cloud that can be seen in from space across the Coral Sea to Queensland and the Northern Territory.

Ms Scully said it could take days or weeks for the ash cloud to disperse from northern Australia.

Queenslanders woke up to a pink and orange sunrise on Monday morning, which was caused by light reflecting through the huge ash cloud.

"A silver lining of the ash cloud is that it can help to produce beautiful sunrises and sunsets that result in different hues," Ms Scully said.

"It's difficult to say if this event is the climax to the volcano's eruption, but Geoscience Australia and the Bureau are monitoring the region closely."

In Tonga, the volcanic ash cloud was so thick that it prevented Australia and New Zealand from sending planes to support.

Australia and New Zealand were finally able to send surveillance planes to asses the damage in Tonga on Monday.

This story How the Tonga eruption and tsunami impacts Australia first appeared on Newcastle Herald.