By Mark Thiessen and Becky Bohrer | January 23, 2018 | Associated Press/ Daily Astorian
ANCHORAGE, Alaska — A powerful earthquake struck off an island in the Gulf of Alaska, prompting a tsunami threat that sent the state’s residents along the southern coast and western Canada fleeing for higher ground just after midnight.
After a few intense hours, the tsunami warning was canceled, allowing people to return home from shelters. There were no immediate reports of damage, not even on Kodiak Island, the closest land to the epicenter of the magnitude 7.9 quake. The quake was followed by dozens of aftershocks.
Oregon, Washington state, California and Hawaii were under tsunami watches, which eventually were lifted.
Word of a potential tsunami rattled nerves on the North Coast.
A local alert was not sent out by Clatsop County Emergency Management, said Director Tiffany Brown.
“There is a difference between a watch and a warning. With a watch, it means the potential exists, and a warning is that (the tsunami) is imminent and it requires immediate action. Nothing required immediate action today, so I didn’t issue an alert. I would wake people up in the middle of the night if they needed to take immediate action.”