7.0 magnitude earthquake rocks Southcentral
A 7.0 magnitude earthquake hit Southcentral at 8:29 a.m. Friday. It is now said to have been 27 miles deep. Aftershocks of 5.7 magnitude and 4.1 magnitude followed, along with more smaller quakes.
The State Of Alaska Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Management are advised that aftershocks could happen into the afternoon. In the event of aftershocks, drop cover and hold on.
Anchorage Water and Wastewater Utility is recommending customers to boil water as an extra precaution. If you smell natural gas, turn off your gas immediately. However, if you do not smell natural gas, do not turn off gas.
Jeremy Zidek with the State of Alaska Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Management advised people to not call 911 for information. If possible, stay off the roads.
Alaska Gov. Bill Walker issued a declaration of disaster and says he is in direct contact with the White House, according to a post on his official Facebook page.
Anchorage's Mayor Ethan Berkowitz declared a local state of emergency Friday morning, following Gov. Bill Walker's disaster declaration at the state level.
Service members at Anchorage’s Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson were accounting for personnel and assessing any damage on base, according to a statement. They were also “preparing to provide emergency support to the base populace and the community as needed.”
In a news release, the Alaska Wing of the Civil Air Patrol stated the agency has been activated by the Alaska Joint Rescue Coordination Center to assist in locating individuals in distress and to identify potential areas of focus for response by ground search & rescue assets. Three Civil Air Patrol Cessna aircraft have been launched and the aircrews from these aircraft are equipped with digital photographic equipment to photograph areas of concern and for later upload to the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA).
The Glenn and Seward highways were reopened as of 1 p.m. Friday. Delays and detours will continue, according to the Anchorage Police Department. Hospitals and Ted Stevens International Airport are open and fully operational, APD said in a release.
The Department of Transportation has reported multiple sections of roadway with significant damage, including an exit ramp from Minnesota Drive south to International Airport Road in Anchorage that was partially collapsed.
The Seward Highway was closed as of about 10:30 a.m. due to a rockslide at Mile 112 near the Potter Marsh weigh station. According to state road website 511.alaska.gov, the Glenn Highway was also closed at the North Eagle River overpass due to “major damage.”
Preliminary reports gauged the quake at 6.6 magnitude centered 10 miles outside of Anchorage. It was later upgraded to 7.0, though others such as Gov. Walker have said it may be as high as 7.2.
A tsunami warning was in effect for the coastal areas of Cook Inlet and the southern Kenai Peninsula. The warning was cleared just before 10 a.m.
Jeremy Zidek, with the State Of Alaska Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Management, said that there was no tsunami danger in Anchorage.
The Anchorage School District has closed all schools through Tuesday, Dec. 4 in order to assess damage from the earthquake. No students were injured Friday, according to ASD spokeswoman Catherine Esary, and parents were asked to come pick them up as schools closed for the day.
Alaska Education Commissioner Michael Johnson has been in regular contact with the Superintendents of Anchorage, Mat-Su, and Kenai. All students have been reported safe after this morning’s earthquake and are being reconnected with their families.
The University of Alaska Anchorage campus was closed Friday, according to a message from the university. All non-essential personnel were told to go home and should not come to campus if not already there.
The Matanuska Electric Association was the worst-hit of southcentral Alaska’s utilities, with roughly 50,000 of its roughly 58,000 customers losing power Friday according to its Twitter feed.
In Anchorage, Chugach Electric was still repairing outages Friday afternoon according to its Twitter feed, with about 4,200 people awaiting restoration of service down from a peak of about 21,000. About 1,000 Municipal Light & Power customers were still without power from an initial estimate of 7,000 to 10,000 affected.
Trans Alaska Pipeline System was shut down following the earthquake. The shutdown happened at 8:34 a.m. on Friday, Nov. 30. The system was shut down as a precaution. It was restarted at 3:30 p.m. that day.
“We are thankful that everyone working on TAPS and at our workplaces across Alaska are safe following today’s earthquake,” said Tom Barrett, Alyeska President. “Through their hard work, resilience and safety focus, TAPS is online again. Our top priorities remain the safety of the people working on TAPS and the operational integrity of the pipeline. And our thoughts are with the many thousands of Alaskans around the Southcentral area and beyond who were impacted by today’s earthquake.”
Damage was reported to buildings and structures across town, including KTVA's newsroom.
For the next 24 hours, the Egan Center is working with Red Cross to provide shelter and food service for those whose homes are not structurally safe, don't have power or need a place to warm up tonight.
Egan Center general manager Greg Spears says the building is the perfect place to accommodate at least 100 people.
"AFD has come through and has inspected the building," he said. "We're fine here; this building is built like a tank."
Chugiak Senior is also providing shelter for the night.
People in Girdwood who need a place to warm up is asked to report to the fire station.
People Mover will be running Saturday and will be operating for free.
Editor's note: An earlier version of this story stated that aftershocks larger than the initial earthquake could happen on Nov. 30. While it was possible, the U.S. Geological Service said the likelihood of a magnitude 7 or higher aftershock happening was around 3 percent. This story has been edited to clarify that aftershocks, in general, could continue into the afternoon of Nov. 30. By 9:30 p.m. that day, there had been hundreds of aftershocks.
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