Powerful earthquakes rocked Alaska’s largest city on Friday morning, causing extensive damage to roads and buildings and briefly triggered a tsunami warning that left residents fleeing.
At 8:29 a.m. local time, a 7.0 earthquake hit the Anchorage area at a depth of 25 miles, the United States Geological Society reported, with a magnitude 5.8 aftershock occurring just six minutes later. More than 9,000 power outages were recorded throughout the region in the hours following the dual quakes.
“There is major infrastructure damage across Anchorage,” the Anchorage Police Department said in a statement, according to NBC News. “Many homes and buildings are damaged. Many roads and bridges are closed. Stay off the roads if you don’t need to drive. Seek a safe shelter. Check on your surroundings and loved ones.”
Photographs and footage of the earthquakes and their aftermath quickly hit social media, and showed residents taking cover as buildings shook violently. In a video posted by reporter Heather Hintze, taken from inside an Anchorage courthouse, attorneys are seen dashing under tables as framed pictures slam against walls and debris crash down from the ceiling.
“It was absolutely terrifying,” Kristin Dossett, who lives in the city of Palmer, told CNN. “It shook like I have never felt anything shake before.”
She continued: “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.”
In another video posted to Twitter, a Chevrolet truck is seen “dancing” in the driveway of an Anchorage home as the earth shakes beneath it. Cassie Schrim, a reporter at KTVA, posted a picture that showed the station’s newsroom in complete disarray.
In a tweet, Sarah Palin, the former governor of Alaska, said her family was safe, but said her home had experienced damage during the quake.
“[Pray] for Alaska. Our family is intact – house is not… I imagine that’s the case for many, many others,” Palin wrote. “So thankful to be safe; praying for our state following the earthquake.”
Palin, 54, later posted a video that showed dozens of shattered dishes around the kitchen of her parents’ home.
“My parents home in Wasilla is usually in tip top shape,” she wrote. “Here it is this morning following the earthquake. The video doesn’t begin to show the scope.”
Though the Alaska Regional and Providence Alaska Medical Center had been damaged, both facilities kept their emergency rooms open for residents, CNN reported.
The Dena’ina Civic and Convention Center in Anchorage had been turned into a shelter for people who could not immediately return home due to damaged roadways. One such picture documenting the damage showed a lone SUV along a completely collapsed section of the Minnesota Drive Expressway in Anchorage.
A tsunami warning was issued shortly after the earthquake struck but was later canceled. State officials advised residents to remain cautious in the face of continued aftershocks.
“Right now, we’re asking people to drop, cover and hold on when they feel earthquakes,” Jeremy Zidek, a spokesman for Alaska’s state Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Management, told the Washington Post.
Shortly after the earthquake, White House press secretary Sarah Sanders tweeted that President Donald Trump has been made aware of the destruction in Alaska as he attends the G-20 Summit in Argentina.
“The President has been briefed on the earthquake near Anchorage, Alaska, and is monitoring damage reports,” Sanders wrote. “We are praying for the safety of all Alaskans!”