A large earthquake with a preliminary magnitude of 7.0 struck Alaska near Anchorage early Friday morning, damaging roads and buildings, knocking out power and sending people fleeing from buildings and to safety beneath door jambs.
The epicenter was just north of Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson, according to the Alaska Earthquake Center
. It violently shook the most populous region of the state as people were settling in to work and school.
The tsunami warning for Southcentral Alaska including Kenai, Kodiak and the shores of Cook Inlet was canceled around 10 a.m.
There were several aftershocks, including a sharp jolt felt widely in Anchorage around 10:26 a.m.
There were several reports of serious damage. The Glenn Highway was closed north of Eagle River because of damage and an onramp at the interchange of International Airport Road and Minnesota Boulevard collapsed.
The Seward Highway is closed at mile 112 -- that’s at McHugh Creek -- in both directions because of a rockslide, said Alaska Department of Transportation spokeswoman Meadow Bailey.
The Anchorage Fire Department responds to a structure fire in South Anchorage Friday morning, Nov. 30, 2018 after a strong earthquake shook southcentral Alaska. (Loren Holmes / ADN)
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There are crews out checking roads and bridges all around Alaska “because this was felt as far as Tok and Valdez,” she said.
There were reports of power and phone outages in the region. Traffic was backed up throughout Anchorage as people headed home to check on damage, and some traffic lights had gone dark.
The Southcental Alaska gas utility, Enstar, is assessing the situation for damage, officials said.
Enstar asked people who smell gas or suspect a gas leak in their house to leave immediately and contact Enstar as soon as possible at 1-844-SMELL GAS (or 844-763-5542).
“If you smell gas AND know how to shut the gas off at your meter, please do so,” the utility said in a Facebook post
The earthquake shook buildings violently. At Anchorage Daily News in Midtown, it sent cracks up walls, damaged ceiling panels and flung items off desks and walls, including a computer monitor and a fire extinguisher.
The trans-Alaska pipeline was shut down as a precaution, according to Alaska Pipeline Services.
Chugach Electric Association, providing service in much of Anchorage, said on a Facebook post it has “power outages throughout” its system.
“Please do not approach any downed power lines or other equipment and facilities,” the utility said.
“We are doing assessment and inspection right now. We need to inspect our equipment for damage before we can re-energize,” it said. “The power outage map on our website is currently not accurate. We will continue to update throughout the day.”
Anchorage Municipal Light and Power, providing service in midtown and north Anchorage, said on Facebook it is “assessing any damages or power outages as a result of the earthquake.”
This is a developing story. Check back for updates.
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