By Jamie Leary
ANCHORAGE, Alaska (CBS4)– The day the earthquake hit, classes were canceled at Anchorage’s Pacific University where Colorado native, Zoe Flannery, is a junior. Flannery says while she felt prepared, she never imagined an earthquake so powerful would hit.
“It was almost like, you know when you’re on a roller coaster and your stomach drops? It was fear like that and I was like, I had no idea what was going on and then my legs started to get pretty shaky and I was pretty unsure of myself. I wasn’t afraid of the house falling or anything, I was like ‘Okay what’s gonna happen next?’”
Back-to-back earthquakes measuring 7.0 and 5.7 shattered highways and rocked buildings Friday in Anchorage and the surrounding area, sending people running into the streets and briefly triggering a tsunami warning for islands and coastal areas south of the city. No tsunami arrived and there were no immediate reports of deaths or serious injuries.
“It was nuts, it was crazy. I just keep thinking about how long our house was shaking and about how many aftershocks there were and how it just keeps coming and coming and coming,” said Flannery.
The U.S. Geological Survey said the first and more powerful quake was centered about 7 miles north of Anchorage, Alaska’s largest city, with a population of about 300,000. People ran from their offices or took cover under desks. The 5.7 aftershock arrived within minutes, followed by a series of smaller quakes.
“We have recorded aftershocks so far, the largest was 5.8 shock about seven minutes after the shock we have also recorded several magnitude four to five size earthquakes, there is likely to be many more aftershocks for the next weeks or month,” said Gavin Hayes with the US Geological Survey.
She said while the road to the airport was damaged, she believes her flight to Craig for the holidays next week will be no problem.
Flannery expects there will be a lot of cleanup work for those closer to the epicenter and she plans to help however she can.
“I think that this is a time to see Alaskans come together and to support each other and I’m really thankful for that,” she continued, “I know this is scary and so coming together and being a community and supporting each other and being resilient is going to be really important.”
Jamie Leary joined the CBS4 team in 2015 and currently works as a reporter for CBS4 News at 5 p.m. and 6 p.m. She couldn’t imagine a better place to live and work and will stop at nothing to find the next great story. Jamie loves learning about and hearing from her fellow community members, so connect with her on Facebook or Twitter @JamieALeary.