Tsunami watch cancelled for US west coast following magnitude 7.9 Alaska earthquake

By Associated Press/KOIN 6 News Staff/KRON - UPDATE:

SAN FRANCISCO (KRON) - A Tsunami Watch was in effect for the entire West Coast, including the San Francisco Bay Area after a massive earthquake off the Alaska coast, according to the National Weather Service.

The quake struck at 1:43 a.m. PST with a preliminary measurement of 8.2 magnitude. It has since been downgraded to a 7.9 magnitude.

It hit about 155 miles off the southern coast of Alaska, prompting a Tsunami Watch for the entire West Coast.

By 4:20 a.m. PST, the alert was cancelled. There is no longer a Tsunami Watch for the Bay Area or West Coast.

Southern Alaska is still under a Tsunami Warning.

ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP/KOIN) - An earthquake with a preliminary magnitude of 8.2 struck off Alaska's Kodiak Island early Tuesday, prompting a tsunami warning for a large swath of coastal Alaska and Canada's British Columbia while the remainder of the U.S. West Coast was under a watch.

The strong earthquake was recorded about 175 miles southeast of Kodiak Island. Warnings from the National Weather Service sent to cellphones in Alaska warned: "Emergency Alert. Tsunami danger on the coast. Go to high ground or move inland."

Kodiak officials warned residents to evacuate if they lived in low-lying areas.

A dispatcher at the Kodiak police department answered a call from The Associated Press by saying, "If this about the tsunami, you need to get to higher ground immediately."

People reported on social media that the quake was felt hundreds of miles away, in Anchorage.

Keith Perkins, who lives in the southeast Alaska community of Sitka, arrived at the high school early Tuesday morning, after an alarm on his cellphone alerted him of the tsunami warning. He says the city's sirens also went off later.

He said people on Facebook were chattering back and forth about whether this was real or not and what they should do.

Given the magnitude of the earthquake, Perkins said he thought it best to head to school, the tsunami evacuation point, even though in the past he felt his home was at a "high-enough spot."

"I figured I'd probably just better play it safe," he said.

He said police officers were directing traffic and the parking lot at the school was filling up. He said he saw some people carrying suitcases or backpacks. Perkins said he didn't bring anything along.

In Oregon and Washington, a tsunami Watch is in effect following the earthquake.

The first waves are expected to hit Washington's Neah Bay around 4:50 a.m. PST today and then hit Oregon's Port Orford around 5:05 a.m.

The National Weather Service says the tsunami struck around 12:32 a.m. Tuesday, AST about 175 miles southeast of Kodiak, Alaska.

Officials warned that tsunamis often arrive as a series of waves or surges that could be dangerous for many hours after the first wave arrival.

The first tsunami wave or surge may not be the highest in the series.


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