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No major issues around central peninsula after earthquake

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Renee Gross/KBBI
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There just seems to be something about big earthquakes and Fridays in Alaska. Friday morning's magnitude 7.1 quake fortunately did not cause the damage and disruption on the Kenai Peninsula as they saw around Anchorage. Things were more or less back to normal in Soldotna by late morning.

 

 

 

Not a single pint glass went down at Odie's Deli. Owner Megan Weston was showing pictures of the more serious damage in Anchorage to her employees when I stopped by. Jeff Henniegh thought the flickering lights meant nothing more than a power outage at first.

“One of my coworkers pointed up at the lights and said ‘did you feel that?’ Then all of a sudden everything was shaking...Nothing at home. I was kind of hoping my deck would fall. Guess we’ll find out when we get home.”

Grocery stores, as expected, had more than a few jars and bottles to clean up. Sandi Hudson was just getting the last of the good stuff mopped up in the liquor store at Fred Meyer about an hour after things had settled down. After almost 25 years there, she’s come to expect these once in awhile.

"It happened two years ago. Same exact spot on the shelves, boom. So, obviously that’s a weak spot on the shelves. We lost a bunch of Grey Goose, Ciroc; all of our high end vodkas," she said with a laugh.

It was no laughing matter during that event two years ago, though, when three homes in Kenai exploded due to a natural gas leak following another seven pointer. Friday morning, Kenai Fire Department Battalion Chief Tony Prior said they again had calls about natural gas fumes.

“We’re responding to multiple calls for service right now, but so far we have no significant effects from the earthquake. So far we have just smells of gas and we’re going in there and clearing the buildings so far nothing serious in our community.”

That seemed to be the story across the Peninsula. Borough Emergency Management Director Dan Nelson said there was some damage to state roads near Nikiski, but little else. Mile 19 of the Spur Highway has a roughly 500 foot crack about 3-4 inches wide and further north at mile 35, and 8 inch wide gap was created Friday morning. The road remains passable, but at reduced speeds.

 

Tsunami warnings in Homer and Seward forced evacuations at schools there and school district communications liason Pegge Erkeneff says the district was able to confirm the safety of students early. The tsunami warnings were cancelled by early afternoon. She says the district has a number of ways to get information out during an emergency, and some work better than others when new developments are happening almost by the minute

“Our mobile app was actually the go-to place, as well as Facebook, where I was able to rapidly get information up. And then Twitter became a little bit secondary for us. I did put into effect, twice today, the school messenger that goes out to almost 13,000 contacts when we add all the emergency contacts, students, staff, parents.”

Travelers were delayed for a few hours Friday when the Seward Highway was closed due to rock slides near McHugh Creek along Turnagain Arm. Roads were open again by early afternoon. And the Kenai airport got a little extra business, taking some of the flights diverted from Ted Stevens International Airport in Anchorage.

 

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