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Watch as an earthquake hits Alaska

Alaskans ran for cover when a 7.0 magnitude earthquake hit near Anchorage early Friday morning. The quake brought down phone lines, knocked out power and caused devastating damage.

Posted: Dec 2, 2018 10:17 AM
Updated: Dec 2, 2018 10:24 AM

More than 230 small earthquakes have hit parts of Alaska since Friday, when a 7.0-magnitude quake knocked out power, ripped open roads and splintered buildings near Anchorage, the US Geological Survey said.

Still, local officials said life was returning to normal even as four to eight inches of snow were expected on Sunday.

"This is the second largest earthquake we've had since 1964, which was a very significant earthquake," Anchorage Mayor Ethan Berkowitz told reporters Saturday, referring a historic magnitude-9.2 quake that was the most powerful recorded temblor in US history.

"But in terms of a disaster, I think it says more about who we are than what we suffered. I would characterize this as a demonstration that Anchorage is prepared for these kind of emergencies."

Berkowitz said during a Saturday night press conference the city was returning to normal.

"We know that we have to be prepared because we're never impervious to earthquakes or the weather," he said.

Despite damage to roads and buildings, no fatalities or serious injuries were reported, officials said. In Alaska's largest city -- with a population of about 300,000 -- airports, hospitals, emergency services and most businesses were operating.

"The bottom line on the utility structure is that the power is up, the heat is on, the communication lines are opening," said Anchorage Municipal Manager Bill Falsey. He added Saturday that the state's department of transportation mobilized four teams of bridge inspectors who remained in a 24-hour operation center until the earthquake situation was resolved.

"At this point, though, we're not seeing a significant amount of bridge damage," Falsey said.

Most of the smaller earthquakes since Friday's big one were not felt. More than a dozen were higher than magnitude 4 and a handful greater than magnitude 5, Falsey said.

But a magnitude-5.2 aftershock about 11 p.m. Friday was the second-biggest event since a magnitude-5.7 temblor hit minutes after the main quake, according to Gavin Hayes, a research geophysicist with the USGS.

"That would have given people a shake and probably a bit of a scare given what they went through yesterday," he told CNN on Saturday.

The magnitude-7.0 earthquake sent residents scurrying for cover when it hit about 8:30 a.m. Friday local time. The quake was centered 10 miles northeast of Anchorage, the state's largest city.

"The most striking thing about this event was that it was so close to Anchorage," Hayes said. "That's why it has caused the damage that we're seeing. Had it been a little further away from Anchorage I don't think it would be getting very much attention. It's not an unusual earthquake in the perspective of the tectonics of the region."

'This was a big one'

Roads buckled under passing cars and grocery store products tumbled from shelves. In court, panicked attorneys scurried under tables as a room rocked from side to side.

"It was very loud when it came," Berkowitz said Friday. "It was very clear that this was something bigger than what we normally experience. We live in earthquake country ... but this was a big one."

Palmer resident Kristin Dossett described the initial jolt as "absolutely terrifying."

It was the biggest quake she has felt in her 37 years in a region where temblors are common, Dossett said. One aftershock moved her piano a foot and half from the wall.

"It shook like I have never felt anything shake before," she said.

"It just didn't stop. It kept going and got louder and louder, and things just fell everywhere — everything off my dressers, off my bookcases, my kitchen cupboard. Just broken glass everywhere."

Authorities don't have firm figures on damage yet. Helicopters and drones were assessing infrastructure across the region. Jodie Hettrick, Chief of the Anchorage Fire Department, said Saturday there were no significant earthquake-related injuries, but some municipal employees had minor injuries after diving under desks or having things fall on them.

Hettrick also said the fire and police departments haven't received any reports of missing people.

The Anchorage School District canceled classes Monday and Tuesday to assess facility damage. Deena Bishop, Anchorage School District superintendent, said the district was able to evacuate children and reunite them with their families safely.

"Students did a great job with their training and earthquake preparation," she said. "Students know to drop, get under something and hold on. That is their desks."

Bishop added that of the 48,000 students and 6,000 adults in the school system, only two injuries were reported. One was a custodial employee who had injuries related to broken glass and one student had a possible broken wrist.

Seismologists predict more aftershocks

Gov. Bill Walker has issued a disaster declaration.

Philip Peterson was in a multistory building in downtown Anchorage as the structure swayed and coffee mugs fell from tables and tiles from the ceiling.

"I just jumped under my desk and had to ride it out," Peterson said.

The 7.0 earthquake was felt up to 400 miles outside of Anchorage, said Michael West, the Alaska state seismologist.

He called it the most significant earthquake in Anchorage since 1964.

"I think it's safe to say that, not measured in magnitude or location but in terms of how strong the ground itself shook during the earthquake," he said during a question-and-answer session at the University of Alaska, Fairbanks.

Two of the city's main hospitals -- Alaska Regional and Providence Alaska Medical Center -- sustained damage but emergency rooms were open, according to hospital officials.

The Anchorage Police Department reported "major infrastructure damage" across the city.

Blair Braverman said she was staying in a hotel with her husband when the quake hit. She grew up in California and was familiar with earthquakes "but this was next-level," she said.

"My husband sort of crawled across the room and threw himself on top of me and we crawled to the bathroom together and waited it out in the doorway and waited out the aftershocks."

Minnesota Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 55947

Reported Deaths: 1654
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Hennepin17789819
Ramsey6861261
Dakota3942102
Anoka3327112
Stearns281720
Washington188643
Nobles17456
Olmsted162023
Scott136214
Mower10782
Rice9898
Blue Earth8485
Wright8015
Carver7692
Clay74340
Kandiyohi6701
Sherburne6387
St. Louis42719
Todd4182
Lyon4153
Freeborn3541
Steele3271
Nicollet30713
Benton3043
Watonwan2980
Winona24516
Crow Wing20613
Martin2035
Le Sueur1991
Beltrami1910
Chisago1761
Goodhue1758
Otter Tail1753
Cottonwood1710
Pipestone1439
Becker1421
McLeod1350
Unassigned13540
Douglas1290
Itasca12912
Polk1293
Waseca1280
Pine1260
Carlton1240
Dodge1220
Murray1221
Isanti1080
Chippewa971
Brown832
Meeker832
Morrison831
Faribault820
Sibley782
Wabasha780
Koochiching733
Rock730
Jackson700
Pennington701
Mille Lacs643
Fillmore610
Cass582
Renville585
Lincoln540
Swift521
Grant491
Yellow Medicine490
Roseau450
Houston400
Pope390
Norman340
Redwood300
Aitkin280
Hubbard280
Kanabec281
Marshall280
Wilkin283
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Wadena230
Big Stone220
Red Lake190
Lake170
Stevens150
Clearwater140
Traverse100
Lac qui Parle60
Kittson40
Cook20
Lake of the Woods10

Iowa Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 45592

Reported Deaths: 877
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Polk9709202
Woodbury364250
Black Hawk299762
Linn208987
Johnson191815
Dallas178735
Buena Vista178412
Scott159012
Dubuque152729
Marshall138324
Pottawattamie121223
Story111013
Wapello84531
Muscatine82448
Crawford7153
Webster7125
Sioux5932
Cerro Gordo58117
Tama53729
Warren5261
Jasper45424
Plymouth4438
Wright4411
Louisa37814
Dickinson3754
Clinton3123
Washington28710
Hamilton2391
Boone2282
Franklin2134
Bremer1877
Clarke1853
Carroll1811
Emmet1791
Clay1711
Hardin1660
Shelby1591
Marion1520
Allamakee1494
Poweshiek1468
Benton1421
Des Moines1392
Jackson1391
Mahaska13617
Guthrie1265
Floyd1242
Jones1231
Cedar1201
Hancock1162
Butler1132
Pocahontas1131
Henry1123
Buchanan1101
Lyon1000
Madison1002
Cherokee971
Clayton973
Harrison960
Taylor930
Lee923
Delaware901
Monona900
Humboldt891
Iowa881
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Calhoun812
Mills810
Sac810
Fayette790
Jefferson780
Palo Alto780
Kossuth770
Osceola770
Mitchell760
Page740
Winnebago730
Grundy721
Union701
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Worth610
Chickasaw500
Davis491
Howard480
Cass471
Appanoose433
Lucas434
Montgomery433
Greene380
Fremont360
Van Buren311
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Ida290
Audubon281
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