Earthquake puts Clallam County on alert

An estimated 7.9 earthquake struck in the Gulf of Alaska Tuesday morning, Jan. 23, put officials on the West Coast — including those in Clallam County — on alert, before more information indicated the threat of a tsunami was lowered significantly.

At about 3 a.m., Clallam County Emergency Management team began staffing the Emergency Operations Center, Clallam County Undersheriff Ron Cameron said in a press release.

Assisted by Lower Elwha Emergency Management, the U.S. Coast Guard and Port Angeles Police, center officials initiated communication with Washington State Emergency Management and the region’s Emergency Operations Centers.

“We began closely monitoring the situation,” Cameron said. “Because of the observations that were made in coastal areas of Alaska, our area never exceeded a category of a ‘watch.’ A watch is when we monitor the situation and set alert protocols to contact citizens and plan for affected areas to evacuate or respond accordingly.”

Cameron added, “We continued to monitor the event, alerting the Port of Port Angeles as it appeared that a wave some size could affect boats and other infrastructure right at the water, but the danger to citizens was now lowered significantly.”

By 4:50 a.m. Pacific Time, the official word of cancellation of all watches was cancelled, he said.

“This event is a vivid reminder of where we live and our vulnerability to such an event, Cameron said.

“In the coming weeks, the Clallam County Sheriff’s Office, Emergency Management Section will be rolling out a new Clallam Alert System so emergency information can be pushed out to all our citizens,” he said. “We will keep you posted as we start implementing this new vital system.”

See www.clallam.net/EmergencyManagement/about.html for more information about the county’s Division of Emergency Management.

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