6.6 magnitude earthquake rocks Anchorage, tsunami warning issued for southern Alaska

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A 6.6 magnitude earthquake has rocked buildings in Anchorage and caused lamp posts and trees to sway, prompting people to run out of offices and seek shelter under office desks.

The U.S. Geological Survey said the earthquake Friday morning was centred about 12 kilometres north of Alaska’s largest city. 

The USGS initially said it was a 6.7 magnitude quake but reduced it to 6.6.

The National Tsunami Warning Center has issued a tsunami warning for coastal zones of southern Alaska following an earthquake that rocked buildings in downtown Anchorage.

The centre said Friday that the warning was in effect for parts of the state’s Cook Inlet and the southern Kenai peninsula.

The warning means tsunami waves are expected.

People went back inside buildings after the earthquake, but a smaller aftershock a short time later sent them running back into the streets again.

An Associated Press reporter working in downtown Anchorage saw cracks in a two-storey building after the quake. It was unclear whether there were injuries.

Anchorage lawyer Justin Capp says he was getting ready for work when he felt the shaking start. He grabbed on to the doorframe in the hallway and the door slammed into his hands, scraping his fingers and hand.

Another lawyer, Hank Graper, was driving when the quake struck. He first thought his vehicle had a flat tire, then thought it was exploding. He realized it was an earthquake after he saw traffic poles swaying.

Graper called it the most « violent » earthquake he’s experience in his 20 years in Anchorage.

The National Weather Service Seattle tweeted a tsunami warning is in effect for Cook Inlet, but it is not expected to affect Washington or B.C.

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