[dropcap]A[/dropcap] huge earthquake with a magnitude of 6.6, the largest for the southcentral area in several decades, shook up that portion of Alaska at 8:29 am originating just under seven and a half miles north of central Alaska’s biggest city at a depth of 23.9 miles.
Six minutes later, that quake was followed by an aftershock just offshore of the city measuring 5.8. Well over 40 more aftershocks have since been registered in the areas to the north of Anchorage but nothing close to the intensity of the quake and initial aftershock has since occurred.
The quake began just after workers were settling into their jobs for the day. The slipping fault knocked items off of store shelves, in homes and across the area in general, and sometimes doing extensive damage to office spaces and some structures in the metropolitan area. There is extensive highway damage in multiple locations in the immediate area and DOT currently has crews out accessing damage.
It is reported that schools in the Anchorage area and Kenai peninsula have closed down as a precaution.
The Anchorage Police Department wrote, “There is major infrastructure damage across Anchorage. Many homes and buildings are damaged. Many roads and bridges are closed. Stay off the roads if you don’t need to drive. Seek a safe shelter. Check on your surroundings and loved ones.”
Two of the city’s larger hospitals suffered damage and some surgeries were canceled. The emergency rooms in those facilities remained open.
The Federal Aviation Administration announced a ground stop for the International Airport.
Governor Walker has issued a major disaster declaration and has been in contact with the White House the state is reporting.
A Tsunami alert has been issued for the region. “Tsunami warnings 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.”
The warning is in effect for the Cook Inlet coastal area and the lower Kenai Peninsula.
Seismologists advise that aftershocks will continue for months and possibly years.
UPDATE: The Tsunami warning was canceled at approximately 10:30 am on Friday morning.