Most of the tsunamis observed in California have been small, causing a slight rise in water levels in coastal areas and little damage.
Wendy Bliss Snipes described the quake as "a slow roller, so it was felt for at least a minute before the real rolling started".
KGW spoke with some people at a restaurant about 20 miles inland who went there when they first heard of the tsunami warning.
"To get a tsunami, you have to have vertical movement of the sea floor and that more often occurs in what we call a thrust fault. where one of the plates is moving over top of the other".
"If you are located in this coastal area, move inland to higher ground".
The quake lasted for up to 90 seconds, long enough that he thought, "Boy, I hope this stops soon because it's just getting worse".
The last tsunami warning was five years ago in Tofino, and Osborne said they have learned a lot since then.
Because of the presence of Diablo Canyon nuclear power plant, "we're actually required to demonstrate to (Federal Emergency Management Agency) that we can do this route alerting", Alsop said.
Hawaii, Guam and American Samoa are among the islands in the Pacific also told to be on alert. Officials in Japan say there is no tsunami threat there.
The killer wave never materialized, but people endured several tense hours in shelters, waiting for a potential catastrophe that they feared could wipe away their communities at any moment.
The strong natural disaster was recorded about 175 miles south east of Kodiak Island early on Tuesday morning.
The quake was the planet's strongest since an 8.2 magnitude in Mexico in September.
"This was a win as far as I could tell", said Marjie Veeder, clerk for the city of Unalaska, which is home to the global fishing port of Dutch Harbor in the Aleutian Islands. He described the atmosphere inside as calm, with people waiting for updates.
"It looks as though this natural disaster was triggered on what we would call a transcurrent fault in the oceanic plate that is going underneath North America", he said.
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An natural disaster with a preliminary magnitude of 8.2 struck early Tuesday about 175 miles southeast of Kodiak Island.
The largest USA quake ever recorded was a magnitude-9.2 temblor in Alaska in March 1964, causing tidal waves of more than 100 feet (30 m) high that killed 131 people.
"People are fine", Neil Hecht, the high school's assistant principal, said in a phone interview.
The quake woke Putney out of a dead sleep, and he estimates it shook for at least 30 seconds.
The police had not received any reports of damage.
John Bellini, a geophysicist with the U.S. Geological Survey's National Earthquake Information Center, said there had been more than two dozen aftershocks as of about 6:30 a.m.
Japan was struck by a devastating tsunami in 2011 when a 9.0-magnitude natural disaster struck 43 miles off its east coast at a depth of 18 miles.
That worries emergency managers, who said the 7.9 magnitude natural disaster off the coast of Alaska that triggered the alert is a wake-up call. Places in tsunami danger zones have sirens.
In deep water, a tsunami can travel at speeds in excess of 500 miles per hour (805 kph), meaning residents of nearby coasts need to move immediately toward high ground or tall buildings.
Hundreds of people evacuated their homes in several coastal British Columbia communities for several hours early Tuesday morning due to a tsunami warning issued after a powerful natural disaster struck off Alaska.
In low-lying areas of Victoria and Esquimalt, officials went door-to-door telling people to evacuate, while elsewhere sirens and text alerts were used to get the warning out, he said in an interview.
Heather Rand, who was 360 miles away in Anchorage, told CNN it felt like the longest quake she had ever experienced.
Kayla Des Roaches from Kodiak radio station KMXT told Morning Report it was a strong shake.