Tsunami warning canceled after magnitude 7.9 Alaska quake offshore

An earthquake struck 175 miles southeast of Kodiak, Alaska, on Jan. 23.

The National Tsunami Center has canceled a tsunami warning that was triggered by a powerful earthquake off the coast of Alaska.

Mickey Varnadao, a computer specialist with the warning center in Palmer, Alaska, said early Tuesday that an advisory remains in effect for parts of Alaska, from Kodiak Island to Prince William Sound.

Watches have been canceled for British Columbia in Canada, Washington, Oregon, California and Hawaii. Officials in Japan say there is no tsunami threat there.

Varnadao says the agency canceled the alert after waves failed to show up in coastal Alaska communities.


The earthquake was recorded about 12:30 a.m. Alaska time about 170 miles southeast of Kodiak Island in the Gulf of Alaska. It had a preliminary magnitude of 8.2 but has been downgraded to magnitude 7.9.

Kodiak officials had warned residents to evacuate if they lived in low-lying areas.


About two hours after the quake, the city of Kodiak, which was projected to see the first wave at about 1:45 a.m., still had no reports of a wave hitting.

Lt. Tim Putney of the Kodiak Police Department said: “We haven’t seen anything yet or had any reports of a wave.”

However, officials were telling people to hold fast at evacuation centers until further notice. He said the town has several shelters above the 100-foot mark, and they were still encouraging people below that level to evacuate.

People reported on social media that the quake was felt hundreds of miles away, in Anchorage.


Keith Perkins, who lives in the southeast Alaska community of Sitka, arrived at the high school early Tuesday morning, after an alarm on his cellphone alerted him of the tsunami warning. He said the city’s sirens also went off later.

He said people on Facebook were chattering about whether this was real and what they should do.

Given the magnitude of the earthquake, Perkins said he thought it best to head to school, the tsunami evacuation point, even though in the past he felt his home was at a “high-enough spot.”

“I figured I’d probably just better play it safe,” he said.


He said police officers were directing traffic and the parking lot at the school was filling up. He said he saw some people carrying suitcases or backpacks. Perkins said he didn’t bring anything along.


4:45 a.m.: This article was updated with the cancellation of the tsunami warning.

4:10 a.m.: This article was updated with a comment from the Kodiak Police Department.


3:38 a.m.: This article was updated with additional details on evacuations in Kodiak.

This article was originally published at 2:35 a.m.