Last night, a magnitude 7.9 earthquake struck 175 miles southeast of Kodiak, Alaska. The quake, which was originally estimated at an 8.2, caused tide levels to rise three feet within minutes, according to an update by the city of Kodiak. Kodiak was projected to get the first tsunami wave.
Citizens of Kodiak are accustomed to hearing the tsunami sirens go off every Wednesday at 2pm during its weekly test. However, after the earthquake struck at 12:32 AKST, Kodiak Police Department issued a video statement confirming that, “This is not a drill,” and to evacuate to at least 100 feet above sea level.
— Darren Oatway (@DarrenOatway) January 23, 2018
Schools were opened as evacuation shelters, and about 500 people took shelter at the Kodiak High School. The road to Pillar Mountain, which was closed for the winter, was opened as another evacuation route. Local patrol circled the town throughout the night, knocking on doors and helping citizens evacuate.
While the wave never materialized, locals endured several tense hours as they followed news of the channel water levels going down and harbor officers reporting the water receding.
Tsunami warning sirens could be heard blaring throughout the town until the warning had been downgraded to an advisory at 3:21 am AKST.
— Tsunami Man 🌊 (@MaestroDEPR) January 23, 2018
According to John Bellini, a geophysicist at the U.S. Geological Survey’s National Earthquake Information Center, there have been over two dozen aftershocks as of 6:30 am AKST, with the strongest aftershock reportedly at a magnitude of 5.3.
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