Tsunami warning after 7.8 magnitude earthquake strikes off US coast

A tsunami warning has been issued in Alaska after an enormous 7.8 magnitude earthquake hit around 75 miles from the coast.

Residents in South Alaska and the Alaska Peninsula have now been urged to flee the area and find higher ground. A tsunami is expected to hit at different points along the coast within the next hour.

Sand Point, also known as Popof Island, could be hit first at 11.15pm local time (8.15am BST), Kodiak at 12.05am (9.05am) and Cold Bay at 12.15am (9.15am).

If the earthquake is not downgraded, it will be the strongest of the year so far. It took place at a depth of six miles (10 km), the GFZ German Research Center for Geosciences reports.

Other US and Canadian Pacific coasts in North America are also at risk of impact from the tsunami, an alert said. There could be a risk of ‘hazardous tsunami waves’ for all areas located within 300km of the earthquake epicentre, it warned.

The alert continued: ‘If you are in a tsunami warning area, evacuate inland or to higher ground above and beyond designated tsunami hazard zones or move to an upper floor of a multi-story building depending on your situation.

‘Move out of the water, off the beach, and away from harbors, marinas, breakwaters, bays and inlets.  Be alert to and follow instructions from your local emergency officials because they may have more detailed of specific information for your location.’

The National Weather Service has since tweeted that impacts to the California coast are still being evaluated by the Tsunami Warning Centre.

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