7.5 magnitude quake off Alaska prompts tsunami warning

U.S. & World

JUNEAU, Alaska (AP) — A magnitude 7.5 earthquake prompted a tsunami warning Monday for a nearly thousand-mile stretch of Alaska’s southern coast, with waves over 2 feet at the nearest community as the threat subsided.

The quake was centered near Sand Point, a city of about 900 people off the Alaska Peninsula where wave levels late Monday topped 2 feet (0.61 meters), according to the National Tsunami Warning Center. The warning was downgraded to an advisory just over two hours after the quake hit.

Public safety officials in King Cove sent out an alert urging residents in the coastal area to move inland to higher ground. Some schools in the Kenai Peninsula Borough School District were evacuating to higher ground, the district said on Twitter.

The Alaska Earthquake Center said the quake was widely felt in communities along the southern coast, including Sand Point, Chignik, Unalaska and the Kenai Peninsula. The Alaska Earthquake Center said a magnitude 5.2 aftershock was reported 11 minutes later, centered roughly in the same area.

“It was a pretty good shaker here,” said David Adams, co-manager of Marine View Bed and Breakfast in Sand Point. “We’re doing OK.” He said all guests were accounted for and “the structure itself is sound.”

“You could see the water kind of shaking and shimmering during the quake,” she said. “Our truck was swaying big time.” He didn’t take any photos or video: “It just kind of happened of all of a sudden.”

Rita Tungul, front desk assistant at the Grand Aleutian Hotel in Unalaska, said she felt some shaking but it wasn’t strong. Her coworker didn’t feel the quake at all, she said.

Unalaska officials sent out a message saying the city is just outside the warning zone and they aren’t ordering evacuations right now. Unalaska public safety officials earlier Monday had sent out a release saying they would be conducting tests of the community’s tsunami warning sirens.

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Associated Press journalists Jennifer Sinco Kelleher, Audrey McAvoy and Caleb Jones in Honolulu and Mark Thiessen in Anchorage contributed to this report.

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