They've been making phone calls, sending emails and using Facebook and Skype to get updates from their loved ones.
Chris Knight spoke with two local people who have ties to Japan.
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Anita Moore of Saranac Lake said she was roused from her sleep at 2 a.m. Friday by a phone call from her daughter, who lives in Seattle, telling her there was a massive earthquake in Japan. Anita's son Vincent Moore, who went to high school in Saranac Lake, works as a civilian attorney at a U.S. Naval Base south of Tokyo.
"I tried to call him on his land line, but there was absolutely nothing," she said. "And there was no cell phone connection either."
After a few tense hours, Anita said she learned her son was safe through a phone call from his wife, who was home visiting family in Iowa. She said she was relieved.
"I went from slight on the edge of panic to feeling much better about him. But I feel so badly about the
Japanese people and all this devestation."
Another North County resident, Suzanne Snizek of Vermontville, was glued to the television on Friday watching evnets unfold in Japan. Her brother, Jim Lockhart, works as a translator in Tokyo, where he's lived for 30 years.
"And of course I think of him immediately as I always do when we've heard of earthquakes over there, but this one seemed particularly severe," she said.
Once she learned the epicenter of the quake was several hundred miles away from where her brother lives, Snizek said she was relieved. Eventaully she learned via an e-mail that her brother and his family were safe.
"He mentioned that in the 30 years he's been there he's experienced many earthquakes and never anything even close to this magnitude, just never anything like it," she said.
Snizek also has two daughters who both spent time in Japan, one as an English teacher and one as a university student.
"As a parent I'm just really grateful they're not there right now," she said.