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

A Democrat and ex-Republican team up to end two-party politics

Brian Baird and Chris Vance unveil a new organization called Washington Independents.

The beavers weren’t happy, either, about Mill Creek flooding

A tree fell on their dam, sending a rush of water into a neighborhood near Jackson High School.

Aerospace workers adjust to changing industry

The number of Boeing workers dropped almost 10 percent since last year

Lynnwood, Marysville, Sultan consider ban on safe injection sites

If approved, they would join Lake Stevens and Snohomish County, which have temporary bans.

Mill Creek councilman no longer lives in city, panel finds

The Canvassing Board determined Sean Kelly is not eligible to vote there.

Five-month-old Felix Shope lies in his stroller ready to go home from the Snohomish County Courthouse with his new mom and dad, Alicia and Josh Shope of Edmonds. (Dan Bates / The Herald)
16 youngsters get the gift of home on National Adoption Day

A joyful day at county courthouse tempered with the great need for stable, loving homes.

Single fingerprint on robbery note leads to arrest

The holdup occurred at a U.S. Bank branch in Lynnwood in August.

City Council OKs initial funding for Smith Avenue parking lot

The site of the former Smith Street Mill is being developed in anticipation of light rail.

Stranger offered candy to student walking home from school

The Granite Falls School District is warning families about… Continue reading

Most Read