UPDATED with Donald Trump tweet: A magnitude 7.0 earthquake rocked coastal Anchorage, AK, at 8:30 a.m. local time this morning, badly damaging homes, buildings and infrastructure and forcing local TV stations off the air, according to reports. Numerous aftershocks continue to hit the region — some felt up to 350 miles away — and the federal government canceled a tsunami warning that was issued earlier.
CBS affiliate KTVA-TV was reporting from the city using Facebook Live, with staff saying their newsroom flooded and the ceiling caved in. One staffer reported having difficulty breathing from all the “chemicals” and debris in the building as they evacuated. Watch CBS’ live coverage of the quake and its aftermath below.
Alaska Gov. Bill Walker has declared the Anchorage region a disaster area.President Donald Trump was briefed in the situation and tweeted this:
CNN is reporting that all local TV and radio stations were knocked off the air. The network’s Brooke Baldwin interviewed a 37-year Anchorage resident via phone who said: “It shook like I’ve never felt anything shake before. It just kept going, and it got louder and louder. … It’s horrible, absolutely horrible.”
Power was knocked out in at least the eastern part of Alaska’s most populous city, where the sun had yet to rise, but outages are said to be isolated. Video showed fires burning in the area, and local police are confirming major damage to homes, businesses and infrastructure, but no injuries or deaths have been reported. The quake was about 29 miles deep and centered about five miles north of the city near the Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson, according to the Alaska Earthquake Center.
“It was a very sharp quake,” Anchorage Mayor Ethan Berkowitz told MSNBC’s Katy Tur. “We live in a very active fault zone. This is one of the benefits of living in the north — there is always something interesting happening.”
Cassie Schirm, a reporter for CBS affiliate KTVA-TV, tweeted a picture of her station’s wrecked newsroom:
TV reporter Heather Hintze tweeted video of the temblor shot inside a courtroom:
Alaska is the top trending topic on Twitter worldwide.
Images from the region show buckled highways and sinkholes. FAA said the control tower at Ted Stevens Anchorage International Airport has been evacuated and inbound flights diverted. Only a few departures are reported, and those are from auxiliary runways. The Alaska Pipeline, which carries crude oil from the region to Valdez Marine Terminal in the Gulf of Alaksa’s Prince William Sound, has been shut down as a precaution.
Located on the so-called “Ring of Fire,” Anchorage is a hotbed of quake activity. The city, which now has nearly 300,000 residents, was hammered by a giant 9.2 temblor in 1964, the most powerful temblor ever recorded in North America. By comparison, today’s 7.0 quake released three to four times more energy than the magnitude 6.7 Northridge event in 1994.
Here is CBS News’ live coverage, and a map of the affected region is below: