It’s a plane, it’s a bird — it’s a volcano?

Residents in Fairbanks and the rest of Alaska woke to a sonic boom between 3:30-4 a.m. Saturday resulting from the eruption of an underwater volcano in the Pacific Ocean near the island nation of Tonga.

The volcano, called Hunga Tonga-Hunga Ha’apai, erupted at 7:26 p.m. AKT on Friday. The eruption prompted the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration to issue tsunami advisory warnings for Alaska, Hawaii and the West Coast just before 2:30 a.m. Saturday.

The National Tsunami Center reported some areas of Alaska saw waves of one or two feet. King Cove reported three-foot waves. Atka and Adak reported one-foot waves.

“Loud booms were heard across Alaska this morning as the shock waves raced through the state,” the National Weather Service in Juneau reported on social media.

Some Fairbanks residents took to social media Saturday in response to the sonic boom that flooded into the Interior.

Retired police chief Dan Hoffman wrote that he and his wife woke up between 3:30 and 4 a.m. Saturday hearing “strange thumping” and felt some minor shaking.

“We thought we might have a couple of moose on the deck,” Hoffman wrote. “After seeing nothing, I chalked it up to probable nighttime exercises at the Ft. Wainwright range.”

The National Weather Service Fairbanks office said there were no weather-related impacts to the Interior but did notice some small effects.

“You could see it in a weather service radar at the airport, and it was observed and it made a small fluctuation in the pressure,” said Ryan Metzger, the lead meteorologist in Fairbanks.

Officials at the National Tsunami Warning Center in Palmer advised residents in Southwest Alaska as far as Atu in the Aleutian Island chain to stay away from the water as late as 12:30 p.m.

“We do expect to see continuing strong currents and dangerous waves even after a tsunami advisory has been canceled for an area’s coastline,” said tsunami warning coordinator Dave Snider during an update Saturday. “It can be a several-hour event to maybe a several day event.”

Snider said the volcano eruption continues to cross the Pacific Ocean and is expected to continue.

Other areas along the West Coast reported impacts from the tsunami. According to Snider, flooding and minor damage occurred at the marina in Santa Cruz, California.

Tonga’s capital reported internet outages and flooding as four-foot waves hit its capital Nuku’alofa, according to Associated Press reports. Residents there reported ash falling to the ground.

Climate specialist Rick Thoman with International Arctic Research Center at the University of Alaska Fairbanks said immediate climate impacts remain to be seen.

“The fact that t he volcano was responsible for the sonic booms heard in the Interior is remarkable and a curiosity but it has no impact on the immediate weather here,” Thoman said Saturday.

From a climate change perspective, Thoman said the data will depend on how long the eruption lasts.

“It’s fair to say that it’s the largest eruption in some decades,” Thoman said. “What really matters for the climate is how much ash and other sulfates are ejected into the upper atmosphere.”

He added lower latitude volcanoes such as the one near Tonga have more impact than ones in higher latitude regions.

“Typically what these tropical eruptions do is induce cooling, super imposed on everything else that goes on,” Thoman said, adding effects would be short term, up to a year. “It might be pretty cold weather next year but we will see how it plays out next year.”

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