A tsunami warning is in effect for coastal areas of Alaska’s Cook Inlet and southern Kenai Peninsula after an earthquake struck Friday with a preliminary magnitude of 7.0, according to a bulletin from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.
The quake knocked CNN affiliate KTUU off the air. Items fell from shelves at the station, news director Tracy Sabo told CNN’s Sara Finch.
Social media images depicted scenes of chaos, including students taking shelter under desks while sending texts from their phones, roads that had been buckled, items tumbling from grocery store shelves, hospital workers scrambling for cover and shards of broken glass outside buildings.
The US Geological Survey has reported at least eightt aftershocks following the first quake. The largest, registering 5.7, was located in the city of Anchorage.
The Anchorage Office of Emergency Management urged residents to shelter in place.
“I could tell this was bigger than anything I’d been in before, and it wasn’t going to stop,” Alaska resident Philip Peterson said.
Peterson was in a multistory building in downtown Anchorage as the structure swayed and coffee mugs fells from tables and tiles from the ceiling.
“I just jumped under my desk and had to ride it out,” Peterson said.
Michael West, the Alaska state seismologist, told CNN the 7.0 earthquake was felt up to 400 miles outside of Anchorage. West said damage reports across the region are just now beginning to come into the Alaska Earthquake Information Center.
Former Alaska governor and vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin tweeted that her house is not intact after the quake, but did not elaborate on specific damage.
“[Pray] for Alaska. Our family is intact — house is not… I imagine that’s the case for many, many others. So thankful to be safe; praying for our state following the earthquake,” she said on her verified Twitter account.
🙏🏼 for Alaska. Our family is intact – house is not… I imagine that’s the case for many, many others. So thankful to be safe; praying for our state following the earthquake.— Sarah Palin (@SarahPalinUSA) November 30, 2018
Blair Braverman said she was staying in a hotel with her husband when the quake hit. She grew up in California and was familiar with earthquakes “but this was next-level,” she said.
“The bed started shaking, everything was shaking so dramatically,” she told CNN.
“My husband sort of crawled across the room and threw himself on top of me and we crawled to the bathroom together and waited it out in the doorway and waited out the aftershocks.”
Reporters at CNN affiliate KTVA described falling window panes at the station’s offices.
“The structure of the roof just collapsed,” one of them said. “We can’t even get into our studio right now. There were computers flying, cameras toppling over.”
The NOAA alert said that “for other US and Canadian Pacific coasts in North America, the level of tsunami danger is being evaluated. Further information will be provided in supplementary messages.”