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Major Earthquake Leaves Anchorage with Ample Damage and Disruption — But Few Injuries

Wintry cityscape of Anchorage, seen from across Knik Arm.

Officials are not reporting any deaths or significant injuries after a 7.0-magnitude earthquake struck north of Anchorage at 8:29am Friday, November 30. The epicenter was just 7 miles north of Anchorage, causing utility failures along with damage to roads and infrastructure.

Governor Walker held a press conference this afternoon and urged Alaskans to keep communication systems open for first responders:

“One thing we wanted to mention is the phones. It’s really overloading the system. Text doesn’t have the same level of interference as phone lines.”

Ted Stevens International Airport re-opened early Friday afternoon, but the Department of Transportation announced that the airport is operating at reduced capacity and experiences delays. They advise travelers to check with the airlines for flight changes. Alaska Airlines resumed service into Ted Stevens early this afternoon but is offering a waiver for passengers flying to and from Anchorage this weekend.

Governor Bill Walker issued a declaration of disaster that was accepted around 2:30pm by FEMA.

“That opens up funding and opportunities to contract a little differently, a little more expeditiously in spending that money in order to help respond to the needs of what’s taking place.”

As of now, there are no numbers regarding the aid the state can expect from the federal government.

“There was no dollar amount and no limit put on. They said, ‘let us know what we can do to help.’”

While Walker did not mention exactly how he planned to use those funds, he did say that power needed to be restored to thousands of people. About 42,000 Matanuska Electric clients were reported without power.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association issued a tsunami warning for Southeast Alaska immediately following the quake but lifted it around 10am.

Schools in Anchorage will be closed through the beginning of next week to access damage. KNOM contacted Mt. Edgecumbe in Sitka. They said the quake was not felt there, and students are continuing on their normal schedule.

Image at top: A cityscape of Anchorage and the Knik Arm, circa 2008, seen from the (coincidentally-named) Earthquake Park. Photo by Frank Kovalchek, shared from Flickr / Wikimedia Commons via Creative Commons license (CC BY 2.0).

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