UPDATE: Tsunami warning cancelled for coastal British Columbia

Warning issued following 7.9 earthquake off Kodiak, AK

UPDATE: 6 a.m.

Just after 5:30 a.m., the provincial government issued a statement following the earthquake in Alaska and subsequent tsunami alert along B.C.’s coast line.

“A tsunami warning on the coast of B.C. has now been cancelled. Overnight, several communities along the coast activated their emergency plans and evacuated those at risk,” says Mike Farnworth, Minister of Public Safety.

“Emergency Management BC activated the Provincial Emergency Co-ordination Centre, and five provincial regional operations centres. The agency also supported local governments to evacuate residents. Although the tsunami warning was eventually suspended, this event demonstrates that coast warning systems do work.

“Please do NOT call 911 for information on the tsunami in B.C. – only call 911 when a life is at stake. It is important these lines are freed-up for those in immediate need.

“In the event of a future tsunami warning, stay calm, stay safe; listen to your local officials and head to higher ground.”

The tsunami warning issued for coastal British Columbia was cancelled Tuesday morning after people living along parts of the province’s coast evacuated to higher ground when a powerful earthquake struck off Alaska.

Related: Evacuated Tofino and Ucluelet residents head home after Tsunami Warning cancelled

Residents in some coastal communities were woken by warning sirens shortly after the quake with a magnitude of 7.9 struck at about 1:30 a.m. Pacific time. The quake was centred 278 kilometres southeast of Kodiak in the Gulf of Alaska at a depth of about 10 kilometres.

Patricia Leidl, communications director with Emergency Preparedness BC, said there was a three centimetre wave and a 15 centimetre rise in sea level hours after the quake at Tofino on the west coast of Vancouver Island.

The tsunami warning covered B.C.’s north coast, Haida Gwaii, the west coast of Vancouver Island, the central coast and northeast Vancouver Island, and along the Juan de Fuca Strait.

People were told to evacuate inland or to higher ground, or move to an upper floor of a multi-story building, depending on individual situations.

— with files from the Canadian Press

—-

ORIGINAL:

A tsunami warning issued for coastal B.C. following a 7.9-magnitude earthquake off Kodiak Island in Alaska has been cancelled.

The National Tsunami Warning Center cancelled the the alert at 4:12 a.m. PST, “because additional information and analysis have better defined the threat.

The centre did confirm a tsunami had been observed and impacts noted in areas of coastal Alaska, but the maximum height of waves was less than one foot in Kodiak, Homer, Seward and Sitka.

People gathered at the emergency muster centre in Tofino cheered when the final advisory for Vancouver Island’s west coast was lifted.

The National Tsunami Warning Centre issued a tsunami warning for coastal B.C. at 1:35 a.m. PST after the earthquake occurred 279 kms off the coast of Kodiak, Alaska. It was originally listed at a magnitude of 8.2, but was revised to 7.9.

EmergencyInfoBC notes the warning affects the Juan de Fuca Strait coast, the outer west coast of Vancouver Island, the central coast and northeast Vancouver Island, and the north coast and Haida Gwaii coastal areas of British Columbia from Attu, Alaska to the Washington State coastline.

Tsunami warnings, according to the National Tsunami Warning Centre, “mean that a tsunami with significant inundation is expected or occurring. Warnings indicate that widespread dangerous coastal flooding accompanied by powerful currents are possible and may continue for several hours after the initial wave arrival.”

Follow @EmergencyInfoBC on Twitter or their website for more information, or your local Black Press news site.

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