Warning sirens were blared while residents of Alaska planned to flee to higher ground after earthquake warnings prompted floods on July 21. It was a 7.8 magnitude earthquake that was centered around 65 miles south of Perryville. The reports were given out by the US Geological Survey. There weren’t any reports of injuries or major damages. However, the shaking prompted tsunami warnings from the coastal regions of Unalaska, Kodiak, Sand Point, Seward, Valdez, Cold Bay, Homer, and Cordova.
The Sand Point Department of Public Safety had put out a Facebook post saying that there is a tsunami warning. They asked students to get out of high schools immediately. Two local schools acted as shelters in Kodiak. Residents around the Coast Guard base were asked to get to Aviation Hill, as it is on higher ground and overlooks the close-by airport. Due to the coronavirus outbreak as well, the announcements on the radio included reminders of taking masks as people evacuated.
Larry LeDoux, the superintendent of Kodiak School District said that they have high school students with them. They had been passing masks to them right from the time the siren rang. Everything was as calm as possible, they arranged around 300 to 400 people wearing masks.
Preventive measures for Alaska
The director of National Tsunami Warning Center, James Gridley, said in an interview that warnings had been issued even if there were no sign of the wave. They had to take measures of safety even when there wasn’t any tsunami wave. They imply that it is better to be safe until there is a complete confirmation of the scenario. The man also said that tsunami isn’t like a hurricane that forms in the ocean and can warn from days before. They had to think of the worst-case scenario and work accordingly. He said that the safest option was to get people going.
Fortunately, there was a mild tsunami that did not cause excessive damage. The warnings were necessary anyway and kept people alert after the massive earthquake.