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7.0 Magnitude Earthquake in Anchorage, Alaska; Tsunami Warning in Cook Inlet Area After 7.0 Quake Near Anchorage; Witnesses Describe Anchorage Earthquake. Aired 1:30-2p ET

Aired November 30, 2018 - 13:30   ET


[13:30:00] BRIANNA KEILAR, CNN HOST: We have breaking news out of Anchorage, Alaska, where it is about 9:30 a.m. local there. There's an earthquake of a magnitude 7.0. This is a major earthquake. We are getting some of our first pictures of some of the damage that we have seen here. You can see food strewn about in this eating establishment. We have also seen reports and video from the local TV station. You see windows blown out. The glass blown out of these windows. This is major.

I want to bring in Allison Chinchar.

Allison, you have been monitoring this from the moment that we first got word that this happened. We are also looking at pictures here of a school. We've heard from witnesses that this is something that it felt like it went on forever, Allison.

ALLISON CHINCHAR, AMS METEOROLOGIST: Yes, and that could be in turn because we've had multiple aftershocks. We had five large aftershocks. That doesn't take into account some of the smaller one. The highest one was a 5.8 that impacted downtown. You have some buildings that sustained more damage from the 5.8 aftershock than they did from the initial quake. Part of that is again, when you have an earthquake the size of a 7.0, that will structurally compromise a lot of buildings. Any aftershocks after that likely to do more damage. All of those red dots, those are the ones you see that are the aftershocks.

In terms of the overall scale, the main concern going forward is this tsunami warning. It's a localized threat. It only impacts the Cook Inlet and peninsula. These main areas right around where that 7.0 was. If you live in those areas or know people who do, get to higher ground. Those waves of tsunamis can come in quick, every five minutes, sometimes they can be intervals as much as 40 minutes. You don't want to take a chance.

You are seeing damage there on the screen from some of these earthquakes and aftershocks. The aftershocks are likely to continue. More damage is possible. Especially, you hear one of the reporters from the local affiliate saying turn your gas off if you know how. Turn your water off if you know how. That will help protect your home in some of these subsequent aftershocks.

One other thing to mention. The USGS has put out that they expect this to be a yellow pager, in terms of economic impact. They expect it to be a yellow one, a 35 percent chance you are going to have significant economic impacts. Most, Brianna, is likely to be the damage to buildings or roads. We had word there's issues for people getting to the international airport as well.

KEILAR: We're saw a picture of an off-ramp that looked damaged. There was concern from the local reporters for the safety of a motorist. We are going to continue to monitor that.

Allison, stay with us.

I want to bring in Nick Watt, who is monitoring this from the west coast.

You are in Los Angeles monitoring this. What can you tell us?

NICK WATT, CNN CORRESPONDENT: As Allison said, there could be more damage created by the aftershocks. But also we still don't know the extent of the damage from the original quake just before 8:30 in the morning Alaska time and the subsequent aftershocks going up to 5.8. The actual first major earthquake was about five miles northwest of Anchorage at a depth of about 25 miles. We have seen on social media, a number of pictures of pendant lights swinging, windows smashed. People are still assessing there. We just heard from the Department of Transportation. They had reports of damage in Anchorage and surrounding areas. They have crews out trying to assess the damage. We heard from the school district and people are advised to pick their kids up and they are assessing the damage to the buildings.

We heard from one person who was a witness. It's difficult getting information out. Near the TV stations, they were knocked off the air and phone lines damaged. We heard from a person named Phillip Peterson who said, "I could tell this was bigger than anything I had been in before. It wasn't going to stop."

Remember, back in 1964, there was a devastating bigger quake in Alaska that killed over 100 people. This man, Phillip Peterson, was in a multistory downtown building in Anchorage. He said it was a big jolt and it sounded like a big crack. You could hear a big crack. Then it jolted back and forth.

They're also assessing the damage at the airport. There's a stop zone on any flight heading to Alaska. Early suggestions there's damage, but the extent we just do not know, yet.

Brianna, back to you.

KEILAR: Nick Watt, thank you so much.

There's new video coming in from Anchorage, Alaska. We're getting video taken from inside buildings there in the Anchorage area. And we are going to continue to monitor this as they have suffered a 7.0 earthquake with a lot of concerns about damage. We are getting new information in and we have a lot of folks assessing. We'll be talking to some people on the ground in just a moment.

[13:35:04] We'll be right back. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Get in the door frame. Get into the door frame. (INAUDIBLE). Get in the door frame.



[13:39:52] KEILAR: We are following breaking news out of Alaska. There has been a major earthquake, 7.0, and reports of a lot of damage. This is the early stages. Folks are still trying to assess what's going on there. We are talking about windows blown out. There are highways that are closed. There's damage to roads. We have seen what looked like an on-ramp to a highway that just crumbled. We are talking about serious damage here.

I want to tell folks who might be listening to CNN on satellite radio, if you are in the Cook Inlet area, the peninsula, there's a tsunami warning for those areas. You want to head to higher ground and check in with your neighbors about that as well.

I want to bring in Blair Braverman. She is coming to us from Wasilla, Alaska. She was heading to Anchorage, Alaska.

Blair, you were there from Wisconsin to train for the Iditarod for the dog race and you were trying to head to Anchorage. You are in Wasilla. Tell us about what you are seeing. Describe the scene around you.

BLAIR BRAVERMAN, WITNESS TO EARTHQUAKE (via telephone): We just left the only gas station that's open where the woman who runs it is contemplating turning on the emergency off switch. Everyone is fueling up on gas to drive to high ground. My husband and I are driving east. No, we are driving west. We're driving north. We turned a couple of times. To get to high ground because we are close to the coast. We are getting conflicting reports. The radio to still evacuate so we are going to keep driving until we hear otherwise from an official source.

KEILAR: We'll tell you the official warnings are that the Cook Inlet has a tsunami warning. It's not the entire coast of Alaska, we should point out. This is a limited tsunami warning but there is one in effect.

Blair, what is the damage like?


KEILAR: What is the damage like? You're saying that's where you are.

BRAVERMAN: Yes. There are sinkholes in the road. They have gas leaks and the power is out in this entire town.

KEILAR: What's the damage like?

BRAVERMAN: People are concerned about gas leaks, I should say. We are on the road and it's a lot of stop-and-go traffic to get to high ground. But we are getting reports about on-ramps and crumbling sinkholes. And a lot of mountainous areas around here and people are trying to figure out how to get out safely.

KEILAR: Can you tell us what it was like when you went through the earthquake? Also just be clear, Blair, are you there waiting for gas?



KEILAR: I want to make sure you are in a safe place.

BRAVERMAN: I am. My husband is driving and we just filled up on gas with a full tank and we are leaving the gas station.


BRAVERMAN: We were able to get through the line. So I am safe right now. We are on the road driving.


KEILAR: Tell us about going through the earthquake.

BRAVERMAN: We were in a hotel room. I'm on my way to Anchorage for the Iditarod meeting. I grew up in California and felt earthquakes before, but this was next level. The bed started shaking and everything was shaking so dramatically. My husband crawled across the room and threw himself on top of me and we crawled to at this time bathroom and waited it out in the doorway. Waited through the aftershocks. People were running down the halls and banging on the doors to evacuate. All the power was out and it was so dark here. You really couldn't get light from outside the window either.

KEILAR: All of this happening in the dark there in Anchorage.

Blair, as you were on the phone there, as you were driving trying to get to a safer place, can you stand by for us?

We want to listen to the local affiliate out of Anchorage describing the damage in the area.

UNIDENTIFIED KTVA REPORTER: The things that are all over there. The glass doors are broken. If you were just tuning in, 7.0 magnitude earthquake. The reason this was so big is it was five miles north of Anchorage. Close to the city center, 7.0 magnitude, a big one. You can hear alarms going off. Just 25 miles deep. This came on and within seconds, the newsroom looked like that. Things were falling and there was dust in there. Every time you were breathing it, it hurt. I assumed it was happening everywhere. All the sheet rock and all the walls shaking and all of that just solid stuff becoming dust from that hard shaking. It was quite incredible. We show around the building what it looks like inside.

[13:45:14] We are doing our best to give you any information we can. I try to tweet and Facebook from my phone, get that information out, but it's not going. It's not making it through. There's too much band width being used. We are just staying on and letting you know, saying 7.0, five miles north.

UNIDENTIFIED KTVA REPORTER: And also to let you know what's going on is that, right now, obviously, we're off the air. Everyone in town is off the air. But my brother is a producer in Miami. He sent me a picture. CNN has been running with this stuff.


KEILAR: All right, so that just shows you how chaotic it is in Anchorage. The local affiliate, KTVA, broadcasting with the technology they have in their pockets. Not even aware that it's going out on CNN. We have been dipping into local coverage and hearing the sirens and the alarms. We have been talking to people who are there in Anchorage describing the damage that you can see here from the 7.0 earthquake near Anchorage.

We'll keep covering this. I want to get in a quick break. And we'll be right back.


[13:50:50] KEILAR: Breaking news out of Anchorage, Alaska. New video of the earthquake damage. You can see why the Anchorage Police Department is saying is there is major infrastructure damage there. This is one of the roads in the area. This happened this morning. Can you see it's dark there? It was still dark there at around 8:30 a.m. when this happened. You can see a road there just buckling with a car in the middle of it. This is the concern of emergency responders there. These are situations people may be in.

I want to get to Pete Peterson, an Anchorage resident.

Pete, you were in bed when this happened and this woke you up. Tell me about what happened.

PETER PETERSON, ANCHORAGE, ALASKA RESIDENT (via telephone): Well, you know, we do get earthquakes regularly here in Anchorage, so it's not uncommon to get a little shaker sometimes in the evening or the morning. But this one was a big jolt. It started immediately with a big jolt, and I could tell, you know, instantly that this was going to be a pretty big shaker.

KEILAR: So what damage are you seeing -- is there any damage to your building? Is there any damage that you can see?

PETERSON: I haven't -- I went outside and looked around. I didn't see any physical damage to the building. So, you know, structurally as far as I can tell it looks fine. Pretty much anything that was sitting on top of anything else has been shook down to the floor. So did have a little broken glass, a couple of prints that had fallen from the wall.

KEILAR: And have you been able to get in touch with family or friends? What's the connectivity there as far as phones go?

PETERSON: Well, my cell phone does work. My land line does not. I don't have power right now. There are areas of Anchorage I've heard that do have power, but here on the east side right now, we don't have power. I was able to get a phone call through to my sister who lives in eagle river, about 15 miles or so north of here. I talked to her and she's without power as well but she and her husband are doing fine. Then I got a text message off to my brother to let him know. He lives in Iowa. He just texted me back a few minutes ago saying that he was glad everything wasn't worse.

KEILAR: And hopefully he's hearing you here on CNN and he can hear that you are doing quite fine.

There's concern, of course, about a lot of other people in the Anchorage area. We're seeing pictures of a buckled highway. Pete, I don't know how old you are so you let me know if you went through the 1964 quake or even just what the concern is. You said you're used to earthquakes. I know that's the case being on the west coast. There are little earthquakes you go through and then there are the occasional big ones like this that are so awful. What will be the concerns do you think historically there in Anchorage when you think about the damage that this city has experienced before?

PETERSON: Well, the earthquake in '64 -- and I wasn't living here back then. I moved here in 1981. But the quake shook so long and so violently in '64 that the soil underneath parts of Anchorage turned to liquid. So I don't believe we have anywhere near the type of shaking this time that would cause that type of damage.

KEILAR: Well and thank goodness. We're seeing some video coming in from schools. We're seeing some of the damage that you describe there.

We just were speaking with Pete Peterson, a resident of Anchorage, who was saying, in his house, he's fared pretty well but anything that was on shelves, pictures have fallen to the ground.

[13:55:06] A 7.0 earthquake happening near Anchorage, Alaska. Major infrastructure damage, according to the Anchorage Police Department.

We'll continue to follow this here on CNN. We'll be back in just a moment.





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