Travel Alert November 2018: Earthquakes in Alaska Near Anchorage; Airport Operations Suspended

A major earthquake rocked the greater Anchorage metropolitan area of Alaska at 12:29:28 in the afternoon Eastern Standard Time on Friday, November 30, 2018 and measured on the Richter scale as a magnitude of 7.0; and another earthquake occurred only six minutes and nine seconds later.

Travel Alert November 2018: Earthquakes in Alaska Near Anchorage; Airport Operations Suspended

The first earthquake occurred approximately 13 kilometers — or slightly greater than eight miles — north of Anchorage. The second earthquake occurred approximately four kilometers — or almost 2.5 miles — north northwest of Anchorage.

No fatalities or injuries have officially been reported at the time this article was written; but power and telephone service outages have been reported. All operations of the Alaska Railroad are currently shut down due to severe damage at the Anchorage Operations Center of the railroad, which are located on Ship Creek. The trans-Alaska pipeline was shut down as a precautionary measure, which could result in a possibly spike in fuel prices.

Damage is severe in some locations; and damage has been reported at Ted Stevens International Airport — which serves the greater Anchorage metropolitan area — resulting in the temporary suspension of operations, as no flights are arriving or departing at this time.

A tsunami warning — which was issued for Kenai, Kodiak, the shores of Cook Inlet, and other areas of south central Alaska — was canceled shortly thereafter.

Other reports via Twitter document some of the damage:

Flight Waivers, Delays and Cancellations

If you are traveling to or from the Anchorage area or elsewhere in the region over the next few days, expect possible delays and cancellations of flights. Keep up to date on the latest information pertaining to these earthquakes which may adversely affect your travel plans — especially due to aftershocks.

If you have a flight scheduled, your flight may be delayed or canceled — and you may be eligible for a waiver of a fee to change your itinerary. If you are driving in any of the affected areas, watch out for traffic problems due to crumbled infrastructure, as some bridges and highways were closed as a precautionary measure.

Here are two airlines which have issued travel alerts as a result of the earthquake:

  • Alaska Airlines is temporarily suspending operations at the airport in Anchorage until at least 12:30 in the afternoon Pacific Standard Time — or 11:30 in the morning Alaska Standard Time — to allow for a thorough safety assessment of the facility and infrastructure. Additionally, the airline will be issuing a travel waiver this afternoon for passengers traveling through Sunday, December 2, 2018, who need to change or cancel their travel plans.
  • United Airlines has issued a travel alert for Anchorage for Friday, November 30, 2018 through Tuesday, December 4, 2018; and Saturday, December 8, 2018 is the last day on which tickets must be reissued and rebooked travel must begin.

Summary

Expect additional airlines to issue travel waivers as a result of the aftermath of this earthquake. Be sure to contact your airline or transportation provider for the latest information pertaining to your travels — if they are adversely affected — and please: travel safely.

My thoughts and prayers are with the people of the greater metropolitan Anchorage area.

Source: The United States Geological Survey.

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