Home Emergency Management News Alaska Quake Triggers Tsunami Warnings along US West Coast and Canada

Alaska Quake Triggers Tsunami Warnings along US West Coast and Canada

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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.

But forecasters promptly cancelled the warnings after additional information and analysis “better defined the threat," the National Tsunami Warning Center in Palmer, Alaska, told CNN News.

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.”

David Hubler David E. Hubler brings a variety of government, journalism and teaching experience to his position as a Quality Assurance Editor at APUS. David’s professional background includes serving as a senior editor at CIA and the Voice of America. He has also been a managing editor for several business-to-business and business-to-government publishing companies. David has taught high school English in Connecticut and at Northern Virginia Community College. He has a master’s degree for Teachers of English from the University of New Hampshire and a B.A. in English from New York University. In March 2017, Rowman & Littlefield published the paperback edition of David’s latest book, "The Nats and the Grays, How Baseball in the Nation's Capital Survived WWII and Changed the Game Forever."