Tsunami warning prompts wake-up call

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A tsunami warning was issued to people living on the west coast of Vancouver Island and the B.C. coast after a major earthquake was registered off the coast of Alaska Tuesday morning.

The 7.9 magnitude earthquake struck at 1:31 a.m. about 250 kilometres from Chiniak, Alaska. There was no danger to Salt Spring Island or any of the other Gulf Islands. The tsunami warning was cancelled at 4:35 a.m.

Many communities along the west coast were affected by the warning, including Victoria, Tofino and Ucluelet. Former Salt Spring residents Kate Metzger, Mike Grandbois and their two kids Tim and Rosie moved to Ucluelet in September.

“We got the call from my sister’s boyfriend (who is in Tofino) about half an hour before the Ukee sirens went off. Since we are in a tsunami zone we had our grab-and-go bag ready and were prepared,” said Metzger in an email.

Salt Spring’s CRD Emergency Program coordinator Elizabeth Zook said in an email that Esquimalt and lower areas of Victoria had been evacuated and an alert was sent to the rest of the west coast of Vancouver Island.

The CRD recommends signing up for the Public Alert Notification System, a text message-based warning system that alerts people when evacuations are necessary.

“This event reminded me of how much more we need to prepare as individuals and as a community,” said Zook.

For more on this story, see the Jan. 24, 2018 issue of the Gulf Islands Driftwood newspaper, or subscribe online.

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