Alaska quake a reminder of tsunami risk in Washington

Alaska’s biggest earthquake since 1965 triggered tsunami warnings and brought a reminder of the risk in Washington State.

The 8.2 magnitude quake was centered 65 miles off the Alaska Peninsula.

But on Thursday night, no one knew how bad it would be as they headed for higher ground.

Videos posted to social media show traffic leaving Seward and Homer.

Boats and ships headed to sea to more safely ride it out.

Tor Parsons, a college student from Oregon, took a video as his fishing boat left Kodiak.

The sirens sounded late at night as the exhausted crew offloaded fish.

“There was a panicked, yet adventurous atmosphere on the boat,” Parsons told KIRO 7. “‘Yeah, this doesn’t happen every day, maybe we’ll all die, but this sure beats offload.’”

The warning was canceled when a wave less than a foot high washed ashore.

No warnings sounded in Washington, but the state now has 122 sirens, including 50 new ones.

The newest ones include sirens in Everett and Edmonds, and state officials say the quake is a reminder that Washington also faces the risk of a major tsunami.

“Whether you are on the outer coast or the inner coast, we do have that risk,” said Elyssa Tappero, tsunami program coordinator for Washington’s Emergency Management Division.

Because of recent funding, the state’s most at-risk areas now have tsunami sirens.

State officials recommend people also buy NOAA weather radios to hear alerts indoors, where sirens can be hard to hear. You can find your local alerting system at mil.wa.gov/alerts.