Southern California swimmers should beware of strong currents after Alaska earthquake

·2 min read
Manhattan Beach, CA - March 24: An aerial view of Bruce's Beach at sunset. Los Angeles County is trying to give the land back to the Bruce family, a Black family that was pushed off Bruce's Beach a century ago by Manhattan Beach. Bruce's Beach was one of the most prominent Black-owned resorts by the sea.The Bruce family used to have a resort right on the strand where the Los Angeles County Lifeguard Division office is and was popular with Black beachgoers. The Bruce's Beach plaque is at the top of the hill, but the actual Bruce property is the lifeguard building at the bottom of the hill, on the Strand at Bruce's Beach between 26th Street and 27th Street on Wednesday, March 24, 2021 in Manhattan Beach, CA. (Allen J. Schaben / Los Angeles Times)
Manhattan Beach is shown March 24. There is no threat of a tsunami following Wednesday night's magnitude 8.2 earthquake in the ocean off Alaska. (Allen J. Schaben / Los Angeles Times)

Southern California swimmers should beware of strong and unusual currents in local harbors Thursday morning after an 8.2-magnitude earthquake in the waters off Alaska late last night.

There is no threat of a tsunami in California or anywhere along the West Coast, including Alaska, the National Tsunami Warning Center said.

But National Weather Service forecasters said it was a "good idea not to go swimming" in Southern California harbors on Thursday.

"We were expecting some very, very, very minor surges in and out of port," said meteorologist David Sweet of the NWS' Los Angeles office.

The quake struck in the ocean 75 miles southeast of Chignik, Alaska, just south of the Alaska Peninsula, Wednesday at 11:15 p.m, according to the tsunami warning center. It hit about 20 miles below the ocean level. The U.S. Geological Survey counted more than 250 people who said they'd felt it.

Tsunami alerts briefly issued for Hawaii and parts of the Alaskan coastline were soon canceled.

"A tsunami is caused by an undersea earthquake that causes a landslide, if you will, or some sort of situation that will displace the water next to a sea cliff, such that it causes a disturbance in the ocean surface," Sweet said. "And when that wave reaches shallower water, of course it causes the wave to build up, and they get bigger and bigger."

"It's going to take a while for those waves to travel across the ocean and finally reach Southern California," he added. "At some point, those little currents that were below advisory level are expected to impact some of the ports, but not at a point where we would expect any trouble."

This story originally appeared in Los Angeles Times.

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