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Alaska tsunami warning cancelled after huge magnitude-7.8 earthquake prompts evacuations

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By Rachael Kennedy  & AP
Huge traffic backlogs could be seen in Homer as people tried to evacuate
Huge traffic backlogs could be seen in Homer as people tried to evacuate   -   Copyright  Twitter/Kelsey Frazier

Evacuations got underway on the Alaska Peninsula after a huge magnitude-7.8 earthquake rocked the area, triggering a series of tsunami warnings.

The US Geological Survey said in an update that the quake struck around 60 miles (96km) south-southeast of Perryville, Alaska, at a depth of six miles (9.6km).

It led to authorities issuing a tsunami warning for South Alaska, the Alaska Peninsula and the Aleutian Islands - which was later retracted.

Photos and videos taken from the town of Homer showed large traffic backlogs on Tuesday evening as people tried to leave the area before the warning was cancelled.

One witness, Kelsey Frazier, who said she was staying at a residence on a high ridge away from where any waves could hit, said tsunami sirens were "blaring" as people fled.

"Cars are streaming up Skyline, one after the other outside my window," she wrote.

A post from another witness, Pat Williams Russell, who was on higher ground, showed streams of headlights as people tried to evacuate from areas around the coastline in Homer.

Headlights of evacuation of the Spit in Homer, AK Tsunami warning. 7.8 earthquake in the Aleutian Islands.

Publiée par Pat Williams Russell sur Mardi 21 juillet 2020

In the comments, a user said her family had been camping in the area at the time of the quake and had since evacuated to a relative's house.

She wrote: "Oh my oh my. My sister, her boyfriend and my two nieces were camping down there. They had to drive up to our great grandma’s house."