A powerful earthquake rocked Alaska’s southern coast early Wednesday morning, with prolonged shaking in the aftermath that prompted tsunami warnings across nearby coastal areas.
AP reports only minor damage was recorded, but officials said that could change after sunrise and people get a better look at an earthquake event set at the biggest in 50 years.
The U.S. Geological Survey said the quake was magnitude 8.2 and hit 56 miles (91 kilometers) east southeast of Perryville, Alaska at about 8:15 p.m. Wednesday.
The National Tsunami Warning Center canceled the warnings early Thursday when the biggest wave, of just over a half foot, was recorded in Old Harbor.
A tsunami warning that had also been issued for Hawaii was also canceled, and officials said there was no threat to Guam, American Samoa or the Commonwealth of Northern Mariana Islands.
Thu Jul 29 06:23:22 UTC 2021 event picture pic.twitter.com/UQwlRCmRlk
— NWS Tsunami Alerts (@NWS_NTWC) July 29, 2021
Patrick Mayer, the superintendent of schools for the Aleutians East Borough, told AP he was sitting in his kitchen in the community of Sand Point when shaking from the quake started.
“It started to go and just didn’t stop,” Mayer told the Anchorage Daily News. “It went on for a long time and there were several aftershocks, too. The pantry is empty all over the floor, the fridge is empty all over the floor.”
On the Kenai Peninsula, a steady stream of cars were seen evacuating the Homer Spit, a jut of land extending nearly 5 miles (8 kilometers) into Kachemak Bay that is a draw for tourists and fishermen.
Two other earthquakes with preliminary magnitudes of 6.2 and 5.6 occurred in the same area within a half hour of the first one, according to the U.S. Geological Survey, but nothing further was issued on the matter.
The Associated Press contributed to this report