A powerful 7.2 earthquake led to the threat of a tsunami off the coast of Alaska. Alaska's Kodiak Island felt the effects of a 7.9 magnitude earthquake early Tuesday morning which was recorded 175 miles off shore. The powerful earthquake triggered a Tsunami Warning to be declared for most of the Alaskan coast and British Columbia. A tsunami watch was also in effect for the West Coast of the United States with waves expected to have reached there a little after 5:00 am. The San Francisco Department of Emergency Management tweeted: “Tsunami Watch for #SF.

If you are w/in SF & 3 blocks of the Pacific Coast or w/in 5 blocks of SF Bay, PREPARE TO EVACUATE SO YOU ARE READY IF EVACUATION IS NEEDED. Check on neighbors who may need help.”

There were reports of rumblings being felt as far as Anchorage which is hundreds of miles from where the earthquake hit, although the city was not in the warning zone and not believed to be in danger.

Emergency alert issued

An alarming warning issued by the National Weather Service for Alaska stated: "Emergency Alert. Tsunami danger on the coast. Go to high ground or move inland." Alaskan Governor Bill Walker urged residents to, “Please heed local warnings to move inland or to higher ground.” Most residents of Kodiak, a town of 6,100 people, received the National Weather Service alert on their cell phones and quickly moved to tsunami evacuation points or higher ground.

Local officials in Kodiak also advised residents who lived close to sea-level to evacuate and immediately seek higher ground. In Sitka, Alaska tsunami sirens alerted residents to danger and many fled to the high school which is the tsunami evacuation site. Some residents brought suitcases while others arrived only with the clothes on their backs as local police directed traffic in and around the area.

Tsunami warning canceled

Around 4:00 AM the tsunami warning was canceled as waves reached only about a foot high on the shore. The last large earthquake in Alaska, a 9.2 magnitude in 1964, did cause a tsunami which killed over 100 people. While thankfully today’s earthquake did not result in any known deaths so far, Don Blakeman, a geophysicist with the US Geological Survey (USGS) stated that aftershocks in the area could continue for weeks or months. In fact, 17 aftershocks have already been felt in the 4-5 range according to the Alaska Earthquake Center who is continuing to monitor the situation.