Tsunami warning ends for B.C. after large earthquake strikes off Alaska

A tsunami warning for coastal British Columbia and parts of Alaska has ended after a powerful earthquake struck about 250 kilometres southeast of Chiniak, Alaska, Tuesday morning.

The earth quake struck at 1:31 a.m. PT Tuesday and prompted a tsunami warning for the entire B.C. coast and a tsunami watch for the entire U.S. West Coast.

In Tofino, on the west coast of Vancouver Island, warning sirens were activated on the two main beaches in town, and people began evacuating to the emergency reception centres at the community hall and elementary school.

The provincial emergency systems worked the way it was supposed to, said B.C.’s public safety minister.

Mike Farnworth said, “Whether it was in Esquimalt where we saw firefighters and first responders going door to door, or… Queen Charlotte City which was fully evacuated, or the sirens in Tofino and Ucluelet, and people going to their local emergency centres, people responded admirably and I think the emergency services did a remarkable job.”

The U.S. Geological Survey initially reported the quake’s strength at 8.2 early Tuesday and later revised that to 7.9, with a depth of 25 kilometres. At least three aftershocks were reported.

Environment Canada said the tsunami warning covered the Central Coast and Northeast Vancouver Island coast, including Kitimat Bella Coola and Port Hardy.