UPDATE: Tsunami warning canceled for coastal areas

A tsunami warning was issued after an earthquake hit 75 miles south of Chignik
Published: Jul. 21, 2020 at 11:00 PM AKDT
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ANCHORAGE, Alaska (KTUU) - Update: NOAA’s National Tsunami Warning Center Director Dr. James Gridley said all advisories and warnings related to a magnitude-7.8 earthquake late Tuesday night have been dropped. A wave of less than 30 centimeters was recorded in Sand Point and nothing has yet been measured in Kodiak as of around 12:30 a.m., Gridley said.

“We’ve canceled the advisories because it doesn’t look like it’s becoming a large wave or any larger,” Gridley said, “and we are monitoring everything within the warning area to determine exactly what we should do in our next message.”

Areas that were predicted to see a wave are still expected to see one, but Gridley estimates the waves will be less than 30 centimeters.

Original Story:

A Tsunami warning is in effect after an earthquake struck 75 miles south of Chignik, Alaska, according to the National Tsunami Warning Center.

USGS says the tsunami warning went into place after a magnitude-7.8 earthquake hit 99 kilometers from Perryville, Alaska.

Jeremy Zidek, Div. of Homeland Security and Emergency Management, said no one will really know until the waves start to hit communities how damaging they might be.

“We won’t know until they arrive in those communities what the severity of the wave and the energy the wave has,” he said. “So it’s critical that people evacuate when they get these (notifications), because the devastation that a tsunami can cause can be tremendous.”

The National Weather Service says tsunami warnings are in effect for south Alaska and the Alaska Peninsula, including Pacific coasts from Kennedy Entrance to Unimak Pass.

A tsunami warning is also in place for the Aleutian Islands from Unimak Pass to Samalga Pass.

The National Weather Service said the earthquake occurred at 10:13 p.m. 520 miles southwest of Anchorage.

NWS forecasts the tsunami will start at these locations at the following times:

  • Sand Point: 2315 AKDT Jul 21
  • Unalaska: 2350 AKDT Jul 21
  • Kodiak: 0005 AKDT Jul 22
  • Cold Bay: 0015 AKDT Jul 22
  • Adak: 0015 AKDT Jul 22
  • Seward: 0030 AKDT Jul 22
  • Valdez: 0050 AKDT Jul 22
  • Cordova: 0100 AKDT Jul 22
  • Saint Paul: 0115 AKDT Jul 22
  • Homer: 0125 AKDT Jul 22

In its tsunami warning, NWS lists recommended actions people should take to protect themselves during a tsunami.

First, if you are in an area with a tsunami warning or advisory in effect, go to higher ground. Higher ground is anything above a designated hazard zone, such as the top floor of a multi-story building. NWS also advises people to stay away from the water including beaches, harbors and inlets.

Follow guidance from local officials and wait until emergency officials say it is safe to return to the coast. NWS says a tsunami warning impact can look very different from place to place. The potential impact ranges from “damaging waves” to “strong and unusual currents.”

Tsunami advisory areas can also vary in the impact caused by a tsunami. The range includes strong waves that could “drown or injure people” or appear like a “frothy wall of water.”

Beth Verge contributed to this report. This is a developing story and will be updated as more information becomes available.

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