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Alaska Beat

First tsunami waves observed in Alaska

  • Author: Craig Medred
  • Updated: September 27, 2016
  • Published March 11, 2011

Following an 8.8-magnitude earthquake that rocked Japan, a tsunami warning continues in effect for coastal Alaska from Amchitka Pass (125 miles west of Adak) to Attu, and a tsunami advisory continues in effect from the Oregon-Washington border to Amchitka Pass. Persons in tsunami warning coastal areas should move to higher ground and be alert to local emergency instructions. Persons in tsunami advisory areas should stay off the water and beaches and out of harbors and marinas. To read more about the initial warnings and advisories, go to Alaska Beat's report from Thursday night. For the most recent report, keep reading.

The National Weather Service West Coast/Alaska Tsunami Warning Center in Palmer reports Friday morning at 4:41 a.m. AKST that initial tsunami waves have been observed at some Alaska ports and have begun to reach Hawaii. Dutch Harbor has recorded wave amplitudes estimated at 1.6 feet above normal sea level at 2:34 a.m., Nikolski 1.4 feet at 2:56 a.m., St. Paul Island 2.0 feet at 3:25 a.m., and Sand Point 0.7 feet at 4:20 a.m. The peak tsunami surge is expected to reach North American areas two to three hours after initial waves are observed. For a list of constantly updated messages from the Palmer warning center and a list of areas reporting increases in wave amplitude, click here.

For the full NWS list of estimated times when Alaska and West Coast towns should expect to see initial tsunami effects, click here. And, if you're not skilled at converting Coordinated Universal Time (UTC or Zulu) to standard civilian time zones, the U.S. Naval Observatory has you covered.

And please stay safe out there.

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