Early Tuesday, January 23, residents of Southern Alaska received the following text: "Emergency Alert. Tsunami danger on the coast. Go to high ground or move inland." No doubt a frightening wake-up call. Many wisely decided to "play it safe" and take shelter at local schools, some going as far as the Southern coast of the state and into western Canada.

An earthquake magnitude of 7.9 was first calculated in the Pacific a little after midnight not far from the island of Kodiak where the nation's largest Coast Guard base resides. This resulted in the tsunami warning which stretched many miles across Alaska's southern coast.

Hours later, the Tsunami Warning was cancelled and permission was granted for residents to return to their homes. Happily, no immediate damage was reported from Kodiak or surrounding areas, according to MSN.

Narrowly missed natural disaster

The threats were so bad that parts of Washington state, Hawaii, California and Oregon were also placed under tsunami watches which have since been lifted. Japanese officials say no tsunami danger threatened their coast, but clearly much of the Pacific was in turmoil. Parts of Alaska were still under a cautionary advisory as of 10 a.m. Though Alaska's largest city, Anchorage, was never evacuated, effects from the huge earthquake were felt there according to some social media updates in the city which resides 200 miles north of Kodiak.

One Kodiak Police Lieutenant reported that in his 19 years of living in Kodiak, he's never felt such a strong earthquake's effects for so long. In Seward, another witness, Fire Chief Eddie Athey, felt a gentle rattle for nearly 90 seconds. Although the tremors lasted for a relatively long period of time, sources at the Alaska Earthquake Information Center reported only light shaking.

The aftershock

Several dozen aftershocks have since ensued, as of approximately 6:30 a.m., the largest being a magnitude of 5.3. But, the resulting tsunami warning was cancelled when its wave never rolled in, much to the relief of many citizens in low-lying areas. Thankfully, Superintendent of the Kodiak Island Borough School District Larry LeDoux reported a very controlled evacuation with little pandemonium involved.

Alaskans must be accustomed to warnings like this, since, even at such an early hour the panic level was kept to a minimum. Luckily for all involved, the tsunami in question never materialized in a manner that was life-threatening.