British Columbia earthquake, but NO tsunami warning for WA

October 27, 2012 at 9:49 pm | In Not WS but we're mentioning it anyway, West Seattle news | 22 Comments

9:49 PM: There’s a lot of conflicting information circulating right now so just in case you are confused or worried – yes, there WAS a 7.7 magnitude earthquake in B.C. but NO, there is NO tsunami warning for our state, anywhere. Here is the actual warning, ONLY for areas from the northern tip of Vancouver Island northward – Vancouver itself is not even affected. The warnings unfortunately are confusingly written – but “information only” for our area means nothing more than “we thought you might want to know that this warning is in effect SOMEPLACE ELSE.” Also, note that while “tsunami” no doubt conjures images of the terrifying events in Japan, much more often, it is barely a ripple. That said, *IF* there is ever a tsunami alert for someplace you are, do NOT wait around to see if it’s a ripple – get inland! – but once again, NO WARNING AFFECTING OUR STATE TONIGHT. We will of course keep watch. And this is always a great reminder for preparedness. (More on that in a separate story later!)

10:04 PM: To illustrate the above point, Canadian sources report a 44-centimeter-high wave at Langara Island in the Queen Charlottes Haida Gwaii area. Here’s how far away that is from us (and Vancouver):

View Larger Map

The newest version of the tsunami alert now includes an ADVISORY for the rest of the B.C. coast – still nothing for our state. Read it here, and watch for updates at (We will add that link to the WSB Weather page tonight so it’ll always be there for reference.)

11:12 PM UPDATE: A few more notes – while there is an *advisory* for Southern Oregon and Northern California (here’s the latest update, from half an hour ago), still nothing for any part of Washington. In B.C., they still haven’t seen anything higher than 50 centimeters (not even 2 feet high). As noted in comments, there’s an alert for Hawaii – here’s live coverage from a TV station there.

11:27 PM UPDATE: The alert for parts of B.C. and Alaska is downgraded to an advisory.

12:24 AM UPDATE: We’re continuing to listen to the Honolulu TV stream referenced above. Whatever they are going to get is expected to arrive in about an hour.

1:43 AM UPDATE: Still nothing of note in Hawaii, according to that TV stream. The warning is still in effect; the advisory for Alaska/BC has been canceled.

3:14 AM UPDATE: Hawaii still OK but no “all-clear” yet. No definitive word on how the remote areas near the epicenter fared, but we did hear via the Hawaii live stream a phone interview with a woman who was at a wedding in the area when the quake hit.


  1. Thanks! I was finding conflicting information.

    Comment by StaceyD — 9:51 pm October 27, 2012 #

  2. Thank you! My Dad is all the way up there…. was concerned. Thank you for clarifying!!!

    Comment by Jeanmarie — 10:23 pm October 27, 2012 #

  3. Just announced a tsunami warning for Hawaii.

    Comment by Kim — 10:36 pm October 27, 2012 #

  4. NOAA shows a tsunami warning for WA coast…but now showing one for Hawaii as well…

    Comment by SolvayGirl — 10:37 pm October 27, 2012 #

  5. we felt our condo bldg shake at the time of the
    earthquake, we live in Victoria, B.C.

    Comment by Hansen — 10:38 pm October 27, 2012 #

  6. Thank you so much for clarifying!

    Comment by Momma Lioness — 10:40 pm October 27, 2012 #

  7. Yes thank you. I couldn’t find it on tv but it was all over the Internet.

    Comment by Shanana — 10:43 pm October 27, 2012 #

  8. There is NOTHING for our area, still. Latest text:
    There is an advisory for parts of California and Oregon but Washington is completely exempt. Don’t judge by the home page – you have to read the alert text.

    Comment by WSB — 11:12 pm October 27, 2012 #

  9. Tsunami warning sirens are whaling on Oahu right now..Reports a 5 foot wave is what’s headed to Hawai’i. Now a tidal wave that size has 100 times the power of a normal Hawaiian 5 footer..

    Comment by carlton — 11:20 pm October 27, 2012 #

  10. I can’t thank you enough for this information. I don’t have television and when a radio show mentioned this in passing I freaked out and wondered why our sirens hadn’t gone off. Curious, if there are any scientists or knowledgeable folk reading, it always seems as though Washington is less likely to be hit, is there a reason? Thank you.

    Comment by Lucas — 11:25 pm October 27, 2012 #

  11. Excellent coverage! I just read the story in The Seattle Times and the coverage here is more accurate, has a map, and more up-to-date than The Times. Thank you, Tracy.

    Comment by Joan — 11:42 pm October 27, 2012 #

  12. Re: Hawaii – I’m watching/listening to continuing coverage streamed from a Honolulu TV station. They’re expecting whatever arrives, to arrive around 1:30 am our time.

    Comment by WSB — 12:14 am October 28, 2012 #

  13. Anything happening in Washington would have happened by now. Given we are about one hour travel time away from the epicenter for a tsunami. Port Alberni on the west coast of Vancouver Island is the most susceptible location with a 60km long channel from the coast it has a very high amplitude rate for even the smallest tsunami. It’s not the height that gets you it is the length of the sine wave and the speed.

    Comment by Jim — 12:30 am October 28, 2012 #

  14. Sitting on a hill top in Maui after being evacuated from our hotel. 30 minutes until first wave is supposed to hit. Glad our 5 foot above sea level house on Alki is safe…hope we can say the same thing about our favorite vacation destination. Hearing tsunami evacuation sirens in the background right now.

    Comment by alki neighbor — 12:59 am October 28, 2012 #

  15. Holy Smokes!! We JUST got back from Waikiki/Honolulu!! I hope everyone stays safe!

    Comment by Bsmomma — 1:25 am October 28, 2012 #

  16. How far south did people feel that earthquake?

    Comment by Noelle — 2:24 am October 28, 2012 #

  17. Thanks WSB for the updates and research!

    Comment by Rodriguez — 2:28 am October 28, 2012 #

  18. Is High Point considered “inland?”

    Comment by 2 Much Whine — 3:12 am October 28, 2012 #

  19. Thanks. We are traveling and u are on the job with the the most info and detail. Not cnn, seattle times. Thx again.

    Comment by bob. c — 4:27 am October 28, 2012 #

  20. Did not feel the earthquake, but my vertical blinds began to sway gently back and forth between 8:30 and 9 PM. First yelled at the cat for playing with the blinds only to discover him sleeping on the chair. Then heard the news of the quake. Did anyone else have any hint of this quake here in Seattle?

    Comment by Carole — 9:22 am October 28, 2012 #

  21. Yes Carole, I observed water moving in a ever so slight wave motion in a toilet — the water was not moving before hand — I thought to myself that it was strange and wondered at that moment if there had been a light earthquake but dismissed my thought as paranoid… only to learn later about the quake up in BC that was approximately at that same time that I noticed the water moving strangely.

    Comment by elaine — 2:27 pm October 28, 2012 #

  22. Just noticed that aftershocks are occurring…rather large aftershocks. Is this affecting Seattle or Pacific NW coastal regions at this time? Tnkx much

    Comment by Taf — 3:20 pm October 28, 2012 #

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