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Here's why Washington state didn't receive a tsunami warning after massive earthquake near Alaska

A network of buoys connected to electronics sitting on the ocean floor detect the pressure wave from a tsunami and how big a tsunami is likely to be.

While coastal areas in the state of Alaska heard tsunami warning sirens go off Wednesday night, Washington state did not.

A massive earthquake off the southern coast of Alaska registered at an 8.2 on the Richter Scale Wednesday night. If initial estimates hold, the earthquake may be the strongest to hit North America in more than 50 years. 

Although many were afraid the quake would cause a tsunami in Washington state, it wasn't a concern for experts, according to Elyssa Tappero, Tsunami Program Coordinator for Washington's Emergency Management Division. 

Washington was issued an Information Statement from the National Tsunami Warning Center, which is below a warning, advisory or a watch. 

When was the state cleared that nothing was coming?  

“That was passed to us in the second conference call from the National Tsunami Warning center,” Tappero said. “They said they would send out a cancellation after that call that there was no danger for us and we could stand down.”

A network of buoys connected to electronics sitting on the ocean floor detect the pressure wave from a tsunami and how big a tsunami is likely to be. Referred to as DART buoys, even the ones closest to the Alaska coast line indicated any resulting tsunami even near the Alaskan coast would only be a few feet high. The biggest wave resulting from the earthquake was measured at just over half a foot.