The National Tsunami Center later canceled the tsunami warning, but an advisory remained in effect for parts of Alaska, from Kodiak Island to Prince William Sound.
A magnitude 87.9 earthquake off Alaska's Kodiak Island prompted a tsunami warning for a large swath of coastal Alaska and Canada's British Columbia while the remainder of the U.S. West Coast was under a watch.
Watches have been canceled for British Columbia in Canada, Washington, Oregon, California and Hawaii. Officials in Japan say there is no tsunami threat there.
Varnadao said the agency canceled the alert after waves failed to show up in coastal Alaska communities.
The strong earthquake was recorded about 280 kilometers (175 miles) southeast of Kodiak Island early Tuesday morning, the US Geological Survey (USGS) said. The epicenter was 10 kilometers under the seabed.
Warnings from the National Weather Service sent to cellphones in Alaska warned: "Emergency Alert. Tsunami danger on the coast. Go to high ground or move inland."
Kodiak officials warned residents to evacuate if they lived in low-lying areas.
People reported on social media that the quake was felt hundreds of miles away, in Anchorage.
Less-ominous tsunami watches were issued for the US west coast -- the entire coasts of California and Oregon and part of Washington state.
In Alaska, authorities urged coast dwellers to seek safety.
"If you are located in this coastal area, move inland to higher ground," the Anchorage Office of Emergency Management said.
"Tsunami warnings mean that a tsunami with significant inundation is possible or is already occurring. Tsunamis are a series of waves dangerous many hours after initial arrival time. The first wave may not be the largest."