'Monster' earthquake shakes Anchorage, Alaska; Widespread damage reported

By Mark Puleo, AccuWeather staff writer
December 02, 2018, 5:52:35 PM EST

Around 8:30 a.m. AKST on Friday, a massive earthquake shook the city of Anchorage, Alaska. The National Weather Service initially issued a tsunami warning for nearby coastal waters, but at 10:00 a.m. AKST, the warning was canceled.

Gov. Bill Walker has issued a disaster declaration in Alaska in response to Friday’s earthquake, which was approved by President Donald Trump.

A number of people sustained injuries, according to the Anchorage Daily News. Many injuries were due to lacerations from broken glass. One person suffered serious airway burns after fighting a fire at his home, which was caused by the earthquake.

The Anchorage School District has canceled classes and its buildings will be examined for potential damage and gas leaks, according to the Associated Press (AP).

Anchorage Municipal Manager Bill Falsey said that over two dozen mainline water breaks have occurred in the city, leaving some residences flooded, according to the AP.

Evacuations have taken place throughout the city as stores, buildings and homes have been impacted. Employees working in the air traffic tower at the Anchorage Airport were also evacuated, as the tower is inspected for damage.

Pictures shared on Twitter show widespread power outages already impacting areas.

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For cleanup crews and families and individuals impacted by the damage, south-central Alaska is welcoming a break from typical bitter December cold. Gusty winds and a period of snow, however, can create new obstacles for the crews handling repairs and cleaning up the destruction left behind by the earthquake this weekend.

Road and bridge damage has also been reported in and around the city.

Earthquake Alaska

A tow truck holds a car that was pulled from on an off-ramp that collapsed during a morning earthquake on Friday, Nov. 30, 2018, in Anchorage, Alaska. The driver was not injured attempting to exit Minnesota Drive at International Airport Road. Back-to-back earthquakes measuring 7.0 and 5.8 rocked buildings and buckled roads Friday morning in Anchorage, prompting people to run from their offices or seek shelter under office desks, while a tsunami warning had some seeking higher ground. (AP Photo/Mike Dinneen)

The United States Geological Survey also released an aftershock forecast, warning Anchorage residents to be prepared for aftershocks and ensuing damage. "According to our forecast, over the next 1 Week there is a 4 % chance of one or more aftershocks that are larger than magnitude 7.0. It is likely that there will be smaller earthquakes over the next 1 Week, with 20 to 2,200 magnitude 3 or higher aftershocks. Magnitude 3 and above are large enough to be felt near the epicenter. The number of aftershocks will drop off over time, but a large aftershock can increase the numbers again, temporarily."

Within the first 12 hours following the major earthquake, the USGS reported over 100 aftershocks in the area measuring at least 2.5 on the Richter scale.

The Anchorage Police Department is operational in the city and alerted people that many roads and bridges are closed. They added that there has been major infrastructure damage across Anchorage with damage to many homes and buildings.

Former Alaska Governor Sarah Palin shared on Twitter that her house was damaged by the quake.

Alaska earthquake magnitude

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