Tsunami warning cancelled for West Coast after magnitude-7.9 earthquake off Alaska

Warning in effect for parts of Alaska, Canada

By John Fitzgerald

A tsunami advisory has been issued after an 7.9-magnitude earthquake struck off the southern Alaska coast.

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

A tsunami warning  was downgraded to an advisory just before 6:30 a.m for southeast and south Alaska, including the Alaska Peninsula and Aleutian Islands, as well as British Columbia in Canada. A tsunami watch was canceled fort West Coast states, including California, Oregon and Washington, according to the Tsunami Warning Center.

As of 2:29 a.m. (5:29 a.m. CT), 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.

Residents were awaken in the middle of the night by the sounds of emergency sirens. 

The Kodiak Police Department took to Facebook shortly after the earthquake to warn people to get to out of their homes and make it 100 feet or more above sea level.

"This is not a drill," the officer said in the video.

"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.

One Twitter user posted video of he dozens of people evacuating as the threat of a tsunami looms.

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.

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