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Each year, Alaskans drop, cover and hold for a minute as part of the Great Alaska ShakeOut — an earthquake drill held across the state each third Thursday in October.

Photo: Sabine Poux/KDLL

When an 8.2-magnitude earthquake hit near the Alaska Peninsula Wednesday, local alert systems sprang into action, beeping, buzzing and blaring to notify Alaskans in coastal communities they should get to higher ground.

Those notification systems require lots of preparation and funding well before a tsunami threat hits, explained Dan Nelson, emergency manager with the Kenai Peninsula Borough’s Office of Emergency Management.

Sabine Poux/KDLL

Kenai Lake is pretty placid. But right after the 1964 Good Friday earthquake, the lake was hit with a tsunami that washed out the bridge there and left behind blocky layers of sediment.

Those layers are useful today to scientists who are looking to learn more about past and future earthquakes.

Take a look back at the Nov. 30, 2018, earthquake that shook Southcentral Alaska with Dan Nelson and Bud Sexton with the Kenai Peninsula Borough Office of Emergency Management. Find out what went well in that situation, what lessons were learned and how OEM is hoping to get the entire community involved in preparing for the next natural disaster.

As recovery from the Nov. 30 earthquake continues, the Federal Emergency Management Agency, or FEMA, is opening a disaster recovery center in Soldotna for this week only.

Opening this (Monday) morning at 9, the center will be open until 7 p.m. each evening through Saturday.

Set up in the Soldotna United Methodist Church on South Binkley, the center will be operated by the State of Alaska and FEMA. There, people will be able to get in-person advice and referrals for those affected.

  The Federal Emergency Management Agency, better known as FEMA, has opened an office in Nikiski to handle claims stemming from the 7.0 Cook Inlet earthquake on Nov. 30, 2018.

In an announcement this week, FEMA says residents have until April 1 to apply for the Federal Individual Assistance Program.

While the Kenai Peninsula Borough survived the Nov. 30, 7.0 earthquake and subsequent aftershocks in rosy condition compared to Anchorage and areas of the Matanuska-Susitna Borough, it didn’t escape unscathed. Damage reports are still coming in and the repair bills are adding up.

The borough assembly will see an ordinance at its meeting Tuesday asking to appropriate $450,000 to cover repair and inspection costs already incurred and more yet to come.

It's been a busy year for the Kenai Peninsula Borough’s Office of Emergency Management, from floods to tsunamis to earthquakes. On this week’s Kenai Conversation, OEM manager Dan Nelson talks about the borough's response to such events and upcoming opportunities for residents to become part of the response team.

Interview highlights-



  After last week’s 7.0 temblor, three spots on the Kenai Spur Highway in Nikiski suffered cracks to varying extent at mileposts 19, 35 and 37. But, without any road-building currently active on the Central Peninsula, some repairs will remain gravel for the winter for a lack of asphalt.

Shannon McCarthy, a DOT spokeswoman in Anchorage says the repairs here were effected by the DOT’s peninsula maintenance crew.

Most of the damage to state infrastructure on the Kenai Peninsula from Friday’s 7.0 magnitude earthquake in Anchorage occurred to latrines in three state parks.

According to the State Dept. of Transportation and Public Facilities earthquake damage update, four latrines, also known as public restrooms, were among the eight structures that were found to have sustained damage from the quake.

Borough working to survey earthquake after effects

Dec 5, 2018


Borough staff are still analyzing their procedures in responding to last week’s magnitude 7.0 earthquake.

Enstar still evaluating gas lines following earthquake

Dec 4, 2018


The natural gas utility serving the Kenai Peninsula, Anchorage and the Mat-Su Valley is still looking for leaks and assessing the damage to thousands of miles of gas lines following Friday's earthquake.

No major issues around central peninsula after earthquake

Nov 30, 2018
Renee Gross/KBBI


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.



North Road damaged by quakes

Nov 30, 2018

There is some road damage on the Kenai Peninsula as a result of this morning's 7.0 and 5.6 earthquakes near Anchorage.

According to the Alaska Departement of Transportation and Public Facilities, two spots on the North Road, at miles 19 and 35 suffered damage.

At Mile 19.7, a three- to four-inch wide crack 500-feet long is in the road, but it is still passable.

At Mile 35.5, a gash 8-inches wide extends about 150 feet. The road remains passable, but at much reduced speeds.

Alaska Earthquake Center

  Kenai appears to have weathered the damage from the two strong earthquakes this morning.

Centered in and around Anchorage, the 7.0 and 5.7 earthquakes have triggered tsunami warnings for as far away as Prince William Sound, Kodiak, and all of the west coast of the Kenai Peninsula. All tsunami warnings were later cancelled with no waves reported.

Kenai Fire Department Battalion Chief Tony Prior said the department is responding to several calls.

Last month’s 7.9 magnitude earthquake off Kodiak Island meant different things to different people on the Kenai Peninsula, and it all depended on where they lived. In areas closer to the open ocean of the Gulf of Alaska, it meant evacuation to high ground, while in the Central Peninsula, it was a midnight diversion, something to post about on Facebook for a few days.

For the people of the Kenai Peninsula Borough’s Office of Emergency Management, it was the time to swing into high gear to warn residents in vulnerable areas of possible tsunami danger.

Quake off Kodiak spurs tsunami warning; all OK

Jan 23, 2018

Residents on the south end of the Kenai Peninsula, and indeed, the entire southern coast of Alaska, woke up to tsunami sirens in the early morning hours Tuesday.

The National Weather Service Tsunami Warning Center in Palmer issued a tsunami warning for the Gulf of Alaska after an 7.9 magnitude earthquake was recorded about 175 miles southeast of Kodiak City at 12:32 a.m.

Earthquake swarm not indicative of ... anything

Nov 28, 2017
Alaska Earthquake Center

  A spate of earthquakes widely felt in Southcentral Alaska lately has some wondering if that's a good sign or a bad sign, insofar as larger quakes are concerned.

Checking with Natalia Ruppert, a seismologist with the Alaska Earthquake Center in Fairbanks, reveals you can't make assumptions on future quakes based on what we're feeling now.

A small earthquake on the Kenai Peninsula was felt as far away as Anchorage early this afternoon.

The Alaska Earthquake Center reported a 4.6 magnitude quake centered six miles northeast of Sterling at 12:17 p.m., at a depth of 23 miles. An even smaller, and unfelt 2.2 magnitude aftershock was recorded at 12:21 p.m. in roughly the same spot.

No damage or injuries were reported.

Small quake shakes Central Peninsula on Labor Day

Sep 6, 2017

A small earthquake centered in Nikiski was felt in several areas of the Central Kenai Peninsula at 1:05 Monday afternoon. According to the Alaska Earthquake Center, the magnitude 4.1 shaker occurred 34 miles below Puppy Dog Lake, about seven miles north of Kenai. No damage was reported.