PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — On Saturday, a volcanic eruption in the Pacific Ocean forced a tsunami advisory for the entire west coast.

Beaches along the Oregon coastline warned tourists and residents of the danger, including “strong currents and dangerous waves.” With the threat of water potentially rising 1-3 feet higher than normal, the National Weather Service advised people to stay out of the water and away from the shore.

An interactive map from the National Weather Service’s Tsunami Warning Center shows the entire West Coast under a tsunami advisory Saturday morning after a volcano erupted underwater in the South Pacific. (Screenshot courtesy of NOAA/NWS)

However, people who live and work in the coastal town tell KOIN 6 News after they heard the siren and got the emergency alert on their phones — they saw people doing the exact opposite.

“The next thing you know, we hear people outside and they’re running to the beach – which I don’t understand, I’d go the other way,” Seaside resident Esther Blackburn said.

When asked if people running towards the potential danger concerned her, Blackburn said it did.

“Yeah, a little bit. I mean, I feel like [if] there was an actual tsunami and we’re trying to evacuate and everyone is going toward the beach, that would cause problems with people trying to actually follow the warning and leave,” Blackburn said. “Not to mention, those waves can just grab you and pull you in.”

The volcano, Hunga Tonga-Hunga Ha’apai, erupted Friday evening beneath the ocean’s surface and sent ash, steam and gas more than 10 miles into the sky, officials from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration said.

Satellite imagery showed the 161-mile radius of the eruption from space. An infrared camera captured the extent of the ash plume following the eruption Friday in the South Pacific.

The NWS Tsunami Warning System issues a tsunami advisory when a tsunami with the potential to generate strong currents or waves dangerous to those in or very near the water is imminent, expected or occurring.