A quake with a magnitude of 7.5 gave Juneau a jolt just before midnight Friday night. The preliminary calculation was a 7.7 magnitude quake off Prince of Wales Island.
According to the National Weather Service, the point of origin for the quake was 205 miles south of Juneau. NWS issued a tsunami warning for coastal areas between and including the north tip of Vancouver Island, British Columbia to Cape Suckling, located 75 miles southeast of Cordova. Within an hour, the warning area was pared down to just Southeast Alaska and eventually cancelled. Further seismic activity continued with a 5.4 magnitude aftershock occurring at 3:28 a.m. Saturday morning, with no tsunami danger predicted.
It is suggested that, in a warning area, people move inland to higher ground. In an advisory area, moving off the beach and out of harbors and marinas is suggested.
Residents of Southeast Alaska sought information wherever possible, calling friends, searching the Web or checking social media sites like Facebook.
A valley resident emailed the Empire to say the quake “shook my Juneau home violently enough to awaken the entire family. No apparent damage.”
A Facebook comment by the Empire just after midnight Saturday morning prompted readers to share their experiences and received more than 85 comments from communities from Juneau to Metlakatla.
Marie Cook in Metlakatla wrote: “We personally didn’t feel it this time but our son Bruce called at 1 (a.m.) and said his place shook several seconds. The whole town headed for higher ground. We live right on the beach and during the evacuation our water was super calm. After canceling the tsunami alert and going home, we noticed the water/waves hitting the beach pretty hard (and still are at 4:20am).”
Antaya Washausen in Sitka wrote: “I live in Sitka and was just about to fall asleep when the bed started moving, then it seemed like the room was shaking... when the stuff on my dresser was about to fall off it dawned on me we were having an earthquake! All safe here in Sitka, but having never had to face evacuation before tonite, it sure does get the adrenaline flowing!”
While Facebook may have been one of the fastest ways to consume information, the facts were mostly obtained from NOAA and NWS, where an interactive map can be viewed: http://wcatwc.arh.noaa.gov/ . The site offers advice on what to do in weather emergencies, like tsunamis. For more on how to be prepared locally, the City and Borough of Juneau has information on emergency management and preparedness at juneau.org/emergency .