Undersea quake sends Alaskans fleeing from feared tsunami

  • People wait at Sitka High School after evacuating early Tuesday, Jan. 23, 2018, in Sitka, Alaska after tsunami sirens and cell phone messages told residents to find higher ground after a 7.9 magnitude earthquake struck in the Gulf of Alaska. (James Poulson/Daily Sitka Sentinel via AP)

  • People return home from Sitka High School after evacuating Tuesday, Jan. 23, 2018, in Sitka, Alaska after tsunami sirens and cell phone messages told residents to leave after a 7.9 magnitude earthquake struck in the Gulf of Alaska. The killer wave never materialized. (James Poulson/Daily Sitka Sentinel via AP)

  • People line the hallway at Sitka High School Tuesday, Jan. 23, 2018, in Sitka, Alaska after tsunami sirens and cell phone messages told residents to find higher ground after a 7.9 magnitude earthquake struck in the Gulf of Alaska. (James Poulson/Daily Sitka Sentinel via AP)

ANCHORAGE, Alaska — A powerful undersea earthquake sent Alaskans fumbling for suitcases and racing to evacuation centers in the middle of the night after a cellphone alert warned a tsunami could hit communities along the state’s southern coast and parts of British Columbia.

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