Tsunami warning canceled after Alaska quake

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Update: 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.

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A magnitude-7.9 earthquake detected in the Gulf of Alaska has triggered tsunami warnings in Alaska and tsunami watches across several Western states.

A tsunami warning is in effect for southeast and south Alaska, including the Alaska Peninsula and Aleutian Islands, as well as British Columbia in Canada. A tsunami watch is in effect for California, Oregon and Washington, according to the Tsunami Warning Center.

As of 2:29 a.m. (6:29 a.m. ET), water in the harbor near Kodiak was receding, the city’s police department tweeted, after earlier urging residents to get at least 100 feet above sea level.

“Citizens should remain in place and wait for further updates,” Kodiak police said.

The San Francisco Department of Emergency Management warned residents within three blocks of the Pacific Coast or within five blocks of the San Francisco Bay to prepare to evacuate, “so that you are ready if evacuation is needed,” the agency tweeted.

The earthquake struck about 175 miles southeast of Kodiak, Alaska, shortly after midnight Alaska local time, according to preliminary figures from the United States Geological Survey. The quake had a depth of about 15 miles, according to the USGS. Previously, the earthquake had been measured at magnitude 8.2.

‘Whole town is evacuating’

Nathaniel Moore was on a boat in Kodiak when the quake hit. He said he felt it “shake really good for a minute.” He and others on the commercial fishing vessel quickly got to shore and headed for higher ground amid the tsunami warning.

“The whole town is evacuating,” he told CNN early Tuesday.

Tsunami sirens sounded in Kodiak, and police warned: “This is not a drill.”

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.