The Alaska Peninsula was shaken by a strong earthquake last Tuesday night that led to tsunami warnings and evacuations. Geologists are currently conducting scientific research.
Shortly after 10pm on Tuesday, a magnitude 7.8 earthquake 65 miles south of Periville on the Alaskan Peninsula and a series of tsunami warnings extended from the Altian Islands to the western Kenya Peninsula. The sound of sirens alarming at night awoke the Alaskan people in places like Kodiak, Sand Point, Unalaska and Homer and drove them to the highlands.
Jennifer Kalmakoff, 44, was traveling with her daughter in a four-wheeler near the town of Perryville when she saw a rock floating across the water Tuesday night. At the same time, it was difficult to control the wheels of the four-wheeler. They speculated that this may have been because they were crossing sand dunes. But when they returned to the village, the villagers were fleeing to the highlands.
As she entered the house, the contents of the house were changing and she immediately left with her daughter for a higher ground. “We had no time to catch anything, so we came out the door and went straight up the hill.”
Officials at the National Tsunami Warning Center canceled the tsunami alert less than two hours later. Kalmakov and people from coastal communities across the region began to return to their homeland. The quake caused only about 10 inches of waves in Sand Point.
Although some people in Anchorage received tsunami warnings, the anchorage was not at risk, said meteorologist Louis Ford, who coordinates with the National Weather Service.
James Gridley, director of the National Tsunami Warning Center in Palmer, said Wednesday that “our approach in a situation like this is to first assume a tsunami is possible and to warn until it is confirmed.” Kalamkoff said all about 110 people in the Perville village had gone to shelters and returned home around 12.30pm. Kalmakoff said people were told that standing on the ground during the earthquake made them feel like they were standing on jelly and that it was difficult to stand, adding that they were familiar with 5.0 magnitude earthquakes but this was a different experience. “Everyone was upset. It took us about 45 minutes to calm down.” Kalmakoff, a former health assistant, said she helped a man who was injured when he slipped on a broken glass while running. Other than that,
Candace Nielsen, 28, who lives in the “cold bay” at the tip of the Alaskan peninsula, felt shaken in bed Tuesday night. Although she is familiar with earthquakes, she says it’s been a long time, and it’s like the whole house was in a tidal wave. ‘ Nielsen, her husband and her three children – aged 5 months, 2 years and 7 years – waited until the shaking stopped. Her 7-year-old daughter was terrified. They then received tsunami warnings.
Nielsen faced a similar situation two years ago, but this time the quake was strong and frightening, she said. Nielsen left the house in search of her mother, carrying some clothes, blankets and diapers for the children. They and their two dogs all got into Nielsen’s truck and drove off the “Cold Bay” site. Her husband, who was the first to respond to the warning, was helping to coordinate the evacuation of people from their other truck.
At the evacuation site, she remained in the truck with her family as a COVID-19 precaution. Around 12:50 a.m., her father in Nelson Lagoon sent her a message that the tsunami warning had been canceled. She thought the cracks in the foundation of her house were badly damaged, but nothing more than cracks and fallen trees on a cold bay road. “I just wanted to come back and tell everyone we’re fine,” and “I know our city is fine and it’s not under the tide,” she said.
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