Local News

Evacuation centers closed as wave warning dropped

Officials have cancelled a tsunami warning issued early Saturday morning for coastal areas of Southeast Alaska and British Columbia.

Warnings or advisories were issued for communities from the Washington border to Homer. All were cancelled by 2 a.m.

The midnight quake shook homes and businesses throughout the region. But no injuries or significant damage was immediately reported. Small tsunami waves or tidal surges were spotted in several communities.

The West Coast and Alaska Tsunami Warning Center said the initial quake’s magnitude was 7.7. Later reports showed it to be slightly smaller. The Alaska Earthquake Information Center listed it as 6.85.

This map shows the quake epicenter off Prince of Wales island. Courtesy Alaska earthquake Information center.

The city closest to Friday’s midnight earthquake closed its tsunami evacuation points by 2 a.m. Saturday. Officials in Craig, about 70 miles east of the epicenter, experienced a minor tidal surge, but no damage was reported.

Officials in Sitka, Petersburg and parts of Prince of Wales Island called for evacuation of low-lying areas. In Sitka, many residents headed to the elementary and high schools, which are on high ground. In Petersburg, residents were also encouraged to move, but did not get a formal evacuation order.

Evacuation centers were closing by about 2 a.m.

The earthquake information center says the midnight quake struck at a depth of about 3 miles. Several smaller aftershocks also struck.

The epicenter was about 110 miles south of Sitka, 120 miles southwest of Petersburg and Wrangell, and about 200 miles south of Juneau.

The U.S. Geological Survey says it was a shallow strike-slip fault where the Pacific plate is moving northwestward.

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