8.2 Magnitude Earthquake Off Alaskan Coast Is 'Strongest' in Nearly 60 Years, Officials Say

·2 min read
Alaska Earthquake
Alaska Earthquake

Sarah Knapp/Homer News via AP A line of cars evacuates the Homer Spit in Homer, Alaska, on July 28, 2021, after a tsunami warning was issued following a magnitude 8.2 earthquake.

A massive earthquake off the coast of Alaska Wednesday night had locals evacuating due to tsunami warnings, which have since been lifted.

According to the Alaska Earthquake Center, a magnitude 8.2 earthquake was registered 65 miles south of Perryville at about 10:15 p.m. local time, and it was "felt throughout the Alaska Peninsula and Kodiak."

The U.S. National Tsunami Warning Center announced at about 5:30 a.m. Thursday that all tsunami warnings for the area were canceled. The center added, "Remember, strong and unusual currents may continue for several hours. If you have damage, please report it to your local officials. Stay safe, get some rest, and we'll keep the watch for you. Good night."

While the tsunami warning was in effect, the Kodiak Police Department had urged citizens to "evacuate to high ground" and said the community's high school was "open as an evacuation location."

Kodiak Mayor Pat Branson told CNN, "This was the strongest earthquake since 1964 and our third evacuation in 18 months. But we are all good and grateful now."

RELATED: Family Mourns 5 Relatives Killed After Sandstorm Causes Massive Pileup in Utah

This content is not available due to your privacy preferences.
Update your settings here to see it.

Never miss a story — sign up for PEOPLE's free daily newsletter to stay up-to-date on the best of what PEOPLE has to offer, from juicy celebrity news to compelling human interest stories.

Paul Barker, principal of a school in King Cove, Alaska, told Anchorage Daily News that 300 to 400 people took shelter at the school, sharing photos on his social media of the gym full of people.

"We're used to this. This is pretty normal for this area to get these kind of quakes, and when the tsunami sirens go off, it's just something we do. It's not something you ever get used to, but it's part of the job living here and being part of the community," Barker said, adding that, for him, the earthquake "wasn't that violent; I expected it to get harder and shake more, but it was just kind of a steady shaking for about a minute or so."