Families are rushing to move out of coastal towns after a strong 8.2 magnitude earthquake has struck off the coast of Alaska, triggering a tsunami warning and hitting fifty-six miles southeast of the town of Perryville, according to the United States Geological Survey.
The USGS said that the quake, which hit at 10:15 p.m, was at a depth of twenty-nine miles.
The U.S Government has since issued a tsunami warning for Alaska's southeast and Alaska Governor Mike Dunleavy tweeted that they are contacting communities in the tsunami warning area pleading for people to "stay safe."
Active #tsunami warning in Gulf of Alaska. The AK Emergency Operation Center is activated. We are contacting communities in the tsunami warning area.
Please stay safe, listen to local leaders & follow emergency plans in your region.
More updates will follow. #akgov #Alaska https://t.co/PD62pXnu7y
— Governor Mike Dunleavy (@GovDunleavy) July 29, 2021
"Active tsunami warning in the Gulf of Alaska. The AK Emergency Operation Center is activated. We are contacting communities in the tsunami warning area," he wrote.
Perryville is a small village about 500 miles away from Alaska's biggest city, Anchorage. The tiny village houses 113 people in total.
Tsunami warning sirens have been heard in Kodiak, an island with a population of about 6,000 people as well as the Alaskan coastline. The warning center has signaled that any potential tsunami would hit Kodiak city at 11:55 pm but the time passed and there was no tsunami insight.
According to the USGS, 5 aftershocks were recorded within ninety minutes of the earthquake, the largest holding a magnitude of 6.2. There was also an emergency alert sent to people's phones reading: "The National Weather Service has issued a TSUNAMI WARNING.
"A series of powerful waves and strong currents may impact coasts near you. You are in danger. Get away from coastal waters. Move to high ground or inland now. Keep away from the coast until local officials say it is safe to return."
Videos recording by citizens and journalists showed people driving away from the coast as warning sirens were heard in the background.
The Pacific Tsunami Warning Center said: "Based on all available data a tsunami may have been generated by this earthquake that could be destructive on coastal areas even far from the epicenter."
🚨#BREAKING: The 8.2 earthquake is the largest to strike the United States since 1965
📌#Alaska l #US
Warning sirens are now blaring along the Alaskan coastline as waves approach.
The Tsunami Warning System is still calculating possible further risks to the Hawaiian Islands pic.twitter.com/rzzVI4txUD
— R A W S A L E R T S (@rawsalerts) July 29, 2021
#Kodiak #Alaska as of 10 minutes ago... sirens and evacuations #earthquake #tsunami pic.twitter.com/BfdjAzqGcj
— 🇺🇸*SkyQueen*🇺🇸 ✈️👑⭐️ (@Triquetra331) July 29, 2021
"Based on all available data, a tsunami may have been generated by the earthquake that could be destructive on coastal areas even far from the epicenter," The Pacific Tsunami Warning Center said before issuing a notice that there's a potential threat to Guam and American Samoa that is still under investigation.
People quickly jumped to social media to share their experiences after the evacuation.
Omfg 7+ earthquake near here. Tsunami warning for Kodiak. I am currently here. Staring at the ocean like 😱 and evacuating… pic.twitter.com/2Gv22Bb4ie
— J Sonne in AK (@midnight_sonne) July 29, 2021
Others prayed, hoping the citizens of Kodiak stayed safe.
Since then, the biggest earthquake in Alaska has been the 1964 Alaskan earthquake, also known as the Great Alaskan earthquake, causing more than 130 deaths.
Our thoughts and prayers go out to the people of Alaska during this frightening time.