ANCHORAGE, Alaska — Emergency sirens sounded around Hawaii late Saturday warning about an oncoming tsunami, after a powerful earthquake struck off the coast of Canada.
Even as many people along Hawaii’s coast rushed to higher ground, officials downgraded a tsunami warning to an advisory for southern Alaska and British Columbia. They also issued an advisory for areas of northern California and southern Oregon.
A small tsunami created by the magnitude 7.7 quake was barely noticeable in Craig, Alaska, where the first wave or surge was recorded Saturday night.
In Hawaii, Gov. Neil Abercrombie proclaimed an emergency, mobilizing extra safety measures.
Warning sirens blared while residents drove away from coasts and tourists were evacuated from lower floors of beachside hotels. Incoming bus routes were shut off into Waikiki and police shut down a Halloween block party in Honolulu.
At first, officials said the islands weren’t in any danger of a tsunami, but they later issued a warning, saying there had been a change in sea readings.
In Alaska, the wave or surge was recorded at 4 inches, much smaller than forecast, said Jeremy Zidek, a spokesman for the Alaska Department of Homeland Security and Emergency Management.
The U.S. Geological Survey said the 7.7-magnitude earthquake hit in the Queen Charlotte Islands area, followed by a 5.8-magnitude aftershock several minutes later. The quake was felt in Craig and other southeast Alaska communities, but Zidek said there were no reports of damage.
The West Coast and Alaska Tsunami Warning Center issued a warning for coastal areas of southeast Alaska, down the western Canadian coast to the tip of Vancouver Island.