A 7.9 magnitude earthquake hit Alaska in the middle of the night on Jan. 23, leaving people running for safety. Now, a tsunami watch has been issued for much of the western U.S.
The south and southeast of Alaska are currently in the midst of a tsunami warning after a massive earthquake pulsed the state around 2:30 a.m. local time. Meanwhile, the coasts of California, Oregon and Washington have also been advised to be on tsunami watch. The quake, which struck about 175 miles southeast of Kodiak, Alaska, left residents of the city running to higher ground, as officials urged people to try and get at least 100 feet above sea level in anticipation of a tsunami. “Tsunami warnings mean that a tsunami with significant inundation is expected or occurring,” the Tsunami Warning Center said. “Warnings indicate that widespread dangerous coastal flooding, accompanied by powerful currents, are possible and may continue for several hours after the initial wave arrival.”
Those in areas with tsunami warnings are being advised to move away from the water, either to high ground or inland, and stay away from the shore until its deemed safe by officials. In areas on tsunami watch, the advice is to be prepared to take action and “stay alert for further information.” Videos from Alaska show cars lined up in the street in an attempt to evacuate to safer areas. Those who experienced the earthquake said it was a very “slow” tremor with a long build up, and it was followed by the ringing of tsunami sirens, with police warning that it was “not a drill.”
The specific areas experiencing a higher-level “tsunami warning” are British Columbia, Southeast Alaska, South Alaska and the Alaska Peninsula and the Aleutian Islands. The west coast, from the California/Mexico border to the Oregon/California border and up to the Oregon/Washington border are deemed the “tsunami watch” areas.
— WEATHER/ METEO WORLD (@StormchaserUKEU) January 23, 2018
tsunami sirens going off in kodiak after the earthquake, i usually only ever hear the weekly siren test at 2pm on wednesdays so hearing it at 1am on tuesday is actually terrifying!! pic.twitter.com/ea5y7U6xnf
— kylie j (@scarygirI) January 23, 2018
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