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Alaska hit by more than 230 small earthquakes since Friday

More than 230 small earthquakes have hit parts of Alaska since Friday, when a 7.0-magnitude quake knocked ou...

Posted: Dec 3, 2018 3:05 AM
Updated: Dec 3, 2018 3:05 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.

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"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."

Indiana Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 749532

Reported Deaths: 13746
CountyCasesDeaths
Marion1030911775
Lake554681006
Allen41636691
St. Joseph36947564
Hamilton36527416
Elkhart29363459
Tippecanoe22862225
Vanderburgh22542400
Porter19331325
Johnson18405388
Hendricks17588317
Clark13200193
Madison13120344
Vigo12604253
LaPorte12394221
Monroe12163175
Delaware10947198
Howard10263225
Kosciusko9614119
Hancock8549144
Bartholomew8162157
Warrick7854156
Floyd7772180
Grant7229179
Wayne7155201
Boone6917103
Morgan6736141
Dubois6211118
Marshall6206116
Cass5991108
Henry5894108
Dearborn588978
Noble580186
Jackson508674
Shelby500897
Lawrence4732121
Gibson444093
Harrison440773
Clinton440055
DeKalb438785
Montgomery434690
Whitley406042
Huntington402281
Steuben399259
Miami392768
Jasper386954
Knox375790
Putnam372160
Wabash360583
Ripley346570
Adams344955
Jefferson335685
White330253
Daviess3031100
Wells295181
Decatur289992
Greene286385
Fayette284864
Posey273735
LaGrange272872
Scott269955
Clay265848
Washington244934
Randolph244683
Jennings235149
Spencer234231
Starke227558
Fountain218647
Sullivan213943
Owen211058
Fulton201542
Jay200932
Carroll193420
Orange188055
Perry186937
Rush175726
Vermillion173644
Franklin170235
Tipton165846
Parke149016
Pike138034
Blackford136132
Pulaski120247
Newton112736
Brown103943
Crawford102316
Benton101014
Martin91515
Warren83615
Switzerland8098
Union72810
Ohio57811
Unassigned0420

Ohio Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 1107225

Reported Deaths: 20091
CountyCasesDeaths
Franklin1285061459
Cuyahoga1156322204
Hamilton812991245
Montgomery524951040
Summit48356999
Lucas43309817
Butler38903603
Stark33297929
Lorain25641502
Warren24558303
Mahoning22332601
Lake21139385
Clermont20098252
Delaware18819135
Licking16649222
Fairfield16564204
Trumbull16527479
Medina15597270
Greene15256246
Clark14223306
Wood13281197
Portage13229214
Allen11903239
Richland11598211
Miami10837223
Wayne9116222
Columbiana9023230
Muskingum8889135
Pickaway8652122
Tuscarawas8639247
Marion8635138
Erie8052164
Ashtabula7139179
Hancock6996131
Ross6934161
Geauga6832150
Scioto6530104
Belmont6149174
Union583849
Lawrence5723102
Jefferson5669158
Huron5539122
Sandusky5437125
Darke5415129
Seneca5344126
Washington5308109
Athens523360
Auglaize501687
Mercer487285
Shelby476295
Knox4568112
Madison443765
Ashland435197
Putnam4334103
Fulton431871
Defiance431798
Crawford4033110
Brown401961
Logan387377
Preble3847103
Clinton378566
Ottawa372781
Highland359465
Williams347878
Champaign343858
Guernsey324253
Jackson317554
Perry297150
Morrow291340
Fayette285350
Hardin274865
Henry273267
Holmes2699101
Coshocton268459
Van Wert247264
Adams242956
Pike242735
Gallia240550
Wyandot234556
Hocking220162
Carroll196948
Paulding176342
Meigs148240
Monroe136144
Noble135839
Harrison113738
Morgan109624
Vinton85417
Unassigned03
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It'll be another pleasant day with sunshine and highs in the upper 70s.
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