By David E. Hubler
Contributor, EDM Digest
A 7.9 magnitude earthquake struck off the Alaskan coast shortly after midnight local time Tuesday. It triggered tsunami warnings along the U.S. West Coast and the Canadian province of British Columbia.
Small tsunami waves of less than one foot were reported in Alaska, the Center said. By 6:30 a.m. ET, “water in the harbor near Kodiak was receding,” Kodiak’s police department tweeted. Earlier, the Police Department urged residents to get at least 100 feet above sea level.
Residents Warned to Remain Away from Coastal Areas Temporarily due to Tsunami Hazard
The tsunami waves caused no apparent damage. There were no reports of injuries or damaged property.But CNN meteorologist Dave Hennen cautioned coastal residents that “receding water can be a dangerous precursor to a significant tsunami.”
The earthquake was centered about 170 miles (270 kilometers) southeast of Kodiak Island, in the Gulf of Alaska. According to the United States Geological Survey, the quake occurred at a depth of about 15 miles (25 km). Previously, the earthquake had been measured at magnitude 8.2.
Kodiak Schools Provide Shelter for Residents
The Kodiak Island Borough School District opened schools as shelters. School Superintendent Larry LeDoux estimated that about 500 people took shelter at the high school.
Eddie Athey, the fire chief of Seward, a popular Alaska cruise ship port, told the Fairbanks News Miner that there was no panic as residents reacted to the tsunami warning. Athey said his community did "the right thing" early Tuesday, as people left for higher ground or drove along the only road out of the city. He called it a “controlled evacuation.”