7.5 earthquake rocks Alaska, Canada

JUNEAU, Alaska — A powerful earthquake sparked a tsunami warning for hundreds of miles of Alaskan and Canadian coastline, but the alert was canceled when no damaging waves were generated.

The magnitude 7.5 quake and tsunami warning that followed caused concern in some coastal communities, with alarms sounding and people rushing to higher ground for safety.

But the Alaska Tsunami Warning Center later said the waves were too small to pose a threat, reaching just six inches above normal sea level in places such as Sitka and Port Alexander.

“Initially, in the first 15 to 20 minutes, there might have been a bit of panic,” Sitka Police Chief Sheldon Schmitt told The Associated Press in a phone interview. But he said things calmed down as the town waited for the all clear.

The temblor struck at midnight Friday (1 a.m. PST Saturday) and was centered about 60 miles west of Craig, Alaska, the U.S. Geological Survey said.

The quake was followed by several aftershocks, including a 5.2 quake felt in southeastern Alaska and British Columbia.

“Houses shook; mine had things tossed from (the) wall,” Craig Police Chief Robert Ely said. But he added that there were “no reports of any injuries, no wave, no tidal movement seen.”

The tsunami warning was eventually expanded to include coastal areas from Cape Fairweather, Alaska, to the northern tip of Vancouver Island, Canada — an area extending more than 700 miles.

The center had warned that “significant widespread inundation of land is expected,” adding that dangerous coastal flooding was possible.

In its cancellation statement, the center said that some areas were seeing just small sea level changes.

“A tsunami was generated during this event but no longer poses a threat,” the center said.

The Alaska Earthquake Information Center said the quake was widely felt but it received no reports of any damage.

“It was the most intense earthquake I’ve felt in my 10 years here. I’m pretty sure there was stuff falling off of shelves,” Chief Schmitt said. “There is no report of any wave activity here.”

He said that an evacuation sirens and announcements came shortly after the quake, prompting the temporary rush to higher ground.

Some people in Craig also moved to safer territory.

“Several citizens elected on their own to move to higher ground. Several locations in Craig were set up for staging (and) shelter,” said Chief Ely, adding that “no evacuation was ordered.”

In addition to the warning, a tsunami advisory was briefly in effect for some Alaska coastal areas to the north of the warning zone, as well as to the south of the zone, from the Washington state border to the northern tip of Vancouver Island.

A tsunami warning means an area is likely to be hit by a wave, while an advisory means there may be strong currents, but that widespread inundation is not expected to occur.

More in Local News

Within an hour, 2 planes crash-land at Paine Field

One simply landed hard and went off the end of a runway. Another crash involved unextended landing gear.

Mill Creek’s Donna Michelson ready to retire at year’s end

The city’s longest-serving council member says she has every intention of staying involved.

Leanne Smiciklas, the friendly lady who served customers of her husband’s Old School Barbeque from a schoolbus parked in front of the Reptile Zoo east of Monroe, has died at 64. (Dan Bates / Herald file)
Without her, beloved BBQ hotspot in Monroe can’t go on

Leanne Smiciklas, who ran the now-closed Old School BBQ along Highway 2 with her husband, died.

Foundation awards grants to Arlington schools

The Arlington Education Foundation on Nov. 13 presented a check to the… Continue reading

Snohomish County firefighters head to California for 18 days

They’re from Fire District 26 in Gold Bar, Getchell Fire and Fire District 7.

State commission reprimands Snohomish County judge for DUI

Judge Marybeth Dingledy had pleaded guilty and was sentenced to a day in jail.

Driver arrested after car strikes pedestrian in Everett

The pedestrian was crossing the road near 12th Street and Broadway. He was injured.

Active Casino Road volunteer honored for work

Molina Healthcare recently honored Jorge Galindo, from Everett, as one of its… Continue reading

Over $12K raised to InspireHER

InspireHER, a local organization that encourages female empowerment, raised over $12,000 at… Continue reading

Most Read