It was all quiet in Port Alberni after a tsunami advisory was issued on Saturday night.
“We were monitoring the situation and any communications from the province. But we did not assemble Port Alberni’s emergency operations centre,” said Russell Dyson, director of Alberni Valley Emergency Operations Centre, said Friday. The centre includes representatives from the city, regional district, as well as emergency services.
The provincial emergency management branch lifted the advisory at 3:22 a.m. Aftershocks continue to rattle Haida Gwaii, something local officials continue to monitor, Dyson added.
Earlier, the branch issued the advisory, which covered the area between the outer West Coast of Vancouver Island from Cape Scott to Port Renfrew. Port Alberni was among the areas covered by the advisory.
The warnings were sparked by a 7.7 magnitude earthquake that struck Haida Gwaii at 8:07 p.m. The quake was located 139 kilometres south of Masset, according to the US Geological Survey website.
Port Alberni received its notice and the information was shared with Alberni Clayoquot Regional District and city of Port Alberni officials, as well as with Emergency Planning Coordinator Laurie L’Heureux, Dyson said.
Port Alberni received a tsunami advisory, which according to the provincial emergency management branch means that a low-level tsunami with potentially strong currents could be expected. Residents are advised to stay away from beaches, shorelines and marinas.
A tsunami warning was issued for the coastal regions near the earthquake, which included the northern tip of Vancouver Island. A warning is the highest level of the tsunami alert, and warns of the imminent threat of a tsunami.
“Had it been worse then we would have activated the centre the tsunami warning system,” Dyson said. The call to activate the system is the province’s, Dyson added.
Tofino launched its own response, which included warning sirens at beaches and calls to residents warning them to move to higher ground. They also opened the community hall as an emergency operations centre. A 12-centimetre wave later washed up in Tofino.
“We were indirectly aware of what was happening in Tofino and monitoring it,” Dyson said.
Elsewhere on Vancouver Island, emergency officials in Port Hardy evacuated low lying areas and opened the civic centre as an emergency centre, which several hundred people stayed at.
The evacuation order was lifted at approximately 12:45 a.m.