A shallow magnitude 8.2 earthquake has the Gulf of Alaska, putting a huge area of the North Pacific on alert for a potentially destructive tsunami.
The quake hit 256km southeast of Chiniak, Alaska. It was 10 kilometres deep and hit at 12.31am (10.31pm NZ time), the US Geological Survey said.
"If you are located in this coastal area, move inland to higher ground. Tsunami warnings mean that a tsunami with significant inundation is possible or is already occurring," Anchorage Office of Emergency Management said in a warning for Alaska and British Columbia.
The quake hit about 10.30pm New Zealand time.
The Pacific Tsunami Warning Centre (PTWC) issued warnings for parts of Alaska and Canada, a tsunami watch for the entire US west coast and Hawaii.
The tsunami warning for Hawaii has now been removed.
"Tsunami sirens just went off in Kodiak, Alaska," one user on Twitter wrote. Kodiak would be one of the first in line for a tsunami.
A tsunami alert was issued following a large earthquake off the coast of Alaska.
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"Based on all available data a tsunami may have been generated by this earthquake that could be destructive on coastal areas even far from the epicentre," the PTWC said.
Japan's meteorological agency said it was monitoring the situation but did not issue a tsunami alert.
Coastal inundation (flooding of land areas near the shore) is NOT expected.
Strong currents and surges may be experienced for the 24 hour period from midday, 24th January.— MCDEM (@NZcivildefence) January 23, 2018
New Zealand's Ministry of Civil Defence and Emergency Management said it and GNS Science were assessing if it had generated a tsunami that could affect New Zealand.
Authorities in Kodiak, Alaska, are telling residents to move to higher ground after a strong earthquake struck nearby, prompting tsunami warning for a large swath of coastal Alaska and Canada's British Columbia while the remainder of the US West Coast was under a watch.
A dispatcher at the Kodiak police department answered a call from The Associated Press by saying: "If this about the tsunami, you need to get to higher ground immediately."
Warnings from the National Weather Service sent to cellphones in Alaska warned: "Emergency Alert. Tsunami danger on the coast. Go to high ground or move inland."
Kodiak officials warned residents to evacuate if they lived in low-lying areas.
People reported on social media that the quake was felt hundreds of miles away, in Anchorage
According to the Tsunami Warning alert on Google, all coastal areas of British Columbia and Alaska from The Wash./BC Border to Attu, Alaska need to evacuate to higher ground. pic.twitter.com/Aw5B9E4zgY— B. (@brianneamira) January 23, 2018
However, there have no immediate reports of damage or injury.
- More soon
I can’t believe I woke up to an alarm about an earthquake as I was continuing to feel the earthquake.— Jake V (@JSweatervest) January 23, 2018
Tsunami sirens just went off in Kodiak, Alaska.— Solomon (@s0l0m0n_h) January 23, 2018
Tsunami watch in effect for coastal areas of Washington & Oregon. First waves may reach Neah Bay by 455 AM PST. Further updates can be found at https://t.co/2WYSMKl5py or NOAA weather radio. This is the result of an estimated M8.0 quake 175mi SE Kodiak City, Alaska. #wawx #orwx— NWS Seattle (@NWSSeattle) January 23, 2018
8.0 earthquake in south central Alaska. Authorities are warning coastal communities to seek high ground for possible tsunami.— Robert Thompson (@ArtofAlaska) January 23, 2018
Possible tsunami travel times after powerful magnitude 8.0 quake off Alaska pic.twitter.com/9RKihVQh4m— Jon Passantino (@passantino) January 23, 2018
Just got the EAS for Alameda county tsunami warning from the 8.0 Earthquake off Alaska. Don’t see that everyday.— Justin McDaniel (@jmcdanielx) January 23, 2018