Alaska hit by 7.9 magnitude earthquake; tsunami warning canceled

ALASKA –The National Tsunami Center has canceled a tsunami warning that was triggered by a powerful earthquake off the coast of Alaska.

Mickey Varnadao, a computer specialist with the warning center in Palmer, Alaska, said early Tuesday that an advisory remains in effect for parts of Alaska, from Kodiak Island to Prince William Sound.

Watches have been canceled for British Columbia in Canada, Washington, Oregon, California and Hawaii. Officials in Japan say there is no tsunami threat there.

Varnadao says the agency canceled the alert after waves failed to show up in coastal Alaska communities.

The earthquake was recorded about 12:30 a.m. about 170 miles (270 kilometers) southeast of Kodiak Island in the Gulf of Alaska. It had a preliminary magnitude of 8.2 but has been downgraded to magnitude 7.9.

The Kodiak Police Department early Tuesday urged residents to get at least 100 feet above sea level, warning: “This is not a drill.”

Tsunami sirens sounded in Kodiak.

Wendy Bliss Snipes described the quake as “a slow roller, so it was felt for at least a minute before the real rolling started. Nothing fell off the walls, and I didn’t have to wake my kiddo.”

Heather Rand, who was in Anchorage, Alaska, told CNN that the earthquake felt like the longest she had ever experienced.

“It was a very long, slow build up. Creepy, more than anything. Definitely the longest, and I was born here,” Rand said. She reported no damage besides cracks in the drywall.