PERRYVILLE, Alaska — A powerful earthquake which struck just off Alaska’s southern coast caused prolonged shaking and prompted tsunami warnings that sent people scrambling for shelters. The 8.2 magnitude quake was the 7th largest in the United States, according to the Alaska Earthquake Center.

Residents reported only minor damage, but officials said that could change after sunrise and people get a better look.

“Right now I'm just trying to assess our situation, and get a message out to all the operators to just do a thorough inspection of our water systems, power systems, fuel systems, our roads and our infrastructure, village buildings," Administrator Michele Anderson with the Native Village of Chignik Lagoon, said Thursday morning. 

"And then I'm also sending a mass text out to the community just to reach for them, and then make sure that they check their homes and report back to me if there's any damage,” she said. 

Chignik’s population of 70 people, which is 60 percent Alutiiq, swells during the fishing season and is up to about 90.

The National Tsunami Warning Center canceled the warnings early Thursday when the biggest wave, of just over a half foot, was recorded in Old Harbor. A tsunami warning that had also been issued for Hawaii was also canceled, and officials said there was no threat to Guam, American Samoa or the Commonwealth of Northern Mariana Islands.

The warning for Alaska covered nearly a 1,000-mile stretch from Prince William Sound to Samalga Island, Alaska, near the end of the Aleutian Islands.

The U.S. Geological Survey said the quake hit 56 miles east southeast of Perryville, Alaska at about 8:15 p.m. Wednesday. The quake was about 29 miles below the surface of the ocean, according to USGS.

Patrick Mayer, the superintendent of schools for the Aleutians East Borough, was sitting in his kitchen in the community of Sand Point when shaking from the quake started.

“It started to go and just didn’t stop,” Mayer told the Anchorage Daily News. “It went on for a long time and there were several aftershocks, too. The pantry is empty all over the floor, the fridge is empty all over the floor.”

In the Alutiiq village of Perryville, population 90, Alex Phillips said there were two quakes there last year in the range of 7.0 magnitude. “This is the strongest yet, I couldn’t stand,” he said.

On the Kenai Peninsula, a steady stream of cars were seen evacuating the Homer Spit, a jut of land extending nearly 5 miles into Kachemak Bay that is a draw for tourists and fishermen.

In King Cove, up to 400 people took shelter in the school gym.

”We’re used to this. This is pretty normal for this area to get these kind of quakes, and when the tsunami sirens go off, it’s just something we do,” school principal Paul Barker told the Anchorage newspaper. “It’s not something you ever get used to, but it’s part of the job living here and being part of the community.”

Several other earthquakes, some with preliminary magnitudes of 6.2 and 5.6, occurred in the same area within hours of the first one, the U.S. Geological Survey reported.

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Indian Country Today National Correspondent Joaqlin Estus contributed to this story.