Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Hurricanes & Earthquakes

It’s been a déjà vu kind of day.  

Back in 1994, I was just 10 when the infamous 6.6 Northridge Earthquake hit Southern California, damaging our home and my grandparents’. Over the years, I’ve felt plenty more earthquakes but have never, ever gotten over my fear of them, and have certainly never experienced a strong one here in the DC area.

In fact, whenever I felt inclined to complain about East Coast weather or start to miss certain things about the West, I’d laugh and think to myself, “Well, at least we don’t get hit by earthquakes.”

Memories of Northridge. Image Source: NASA Ames Research Center
Apparently, I was wrong, and you can imagine my shock when I suddenly felt the familiar shaking and heard the telltale creaking this afternoon during a 5.8 quake centered right here in Virginia! As much as I'd like to say my Cali girl experience left me cool as a cucumber, that couldn't be farther from the truth. Yeah, I freaked out, majorly, just like I always have. 

Now that it's over, I’m just thankful our brick high-rise held up OK and that the shaking didn’t last longer than about half a minute. Plus, I now hear Hurricane Irene is set to wreak havoc throughout the Mid-Atlantic and potentially along the entire East Coast this weekend.

Well, at least we don’t get hit with tornado warnings or struck by major blizzards, right? Oh yeah, wait…

Are you calm when faced with a natural disaster, or do you freak out the way I do? Anyone else experience the Northridge quake or any of the other California big ones? 


  1. I'm sure I'm crazy, but I like earthquakes. Well, the being in them, not the "lets see what damage is done" part. They're sort of like an amusement park ride in your house, and growing up, when we'd visit California every summer, my sister and I would always wait in anticipation to see if we'd get to experience one.

    Now tornadoes, those scare the heck out of me. They do so much damage, and are so frequent. I didn't even know there were tornadoes in NC, but we've had quite a few warnings around the state since we've lived here. I'm also not looking forward to the hurricane potentially ruining my outdoor plans this weekend!

    Boo, weather!

  2. it's such a crazy thing to hear about the east coast earthquake. but i'm glad that there was minimal damage and most people are safe.

  3. I am definitely terrified of earthquakes, even though I have lived in California my whole life. I've heard that Southern California gets a lot more earthquakes than Northern California - I still remember the 1989 quake vividly, and I'm so scared that another huge one like that is predicted to occur before 2020 :(

  4. People in NYC were freaking out today about the earthquake but somehow I didn't feel it (even though my coworker down the hall did! Weird!) I'm glad it wasn't a serious quack and didn't cause any major damage. I still can't say I know what one feels like, even though it hit my city. I don't really want to find out!

  5. I FREAK out!! Earthquakes are probably the worst. They've always had me panicking but particularly since the awful Canterbury Earthquakes. I live just 4hrs drive from Christchurch and pretty much every second person here in Dunedin was affected by it.

  6. Glad to hear there were no major injuries though. My family in NY got a kick out of it. My aunt called it a happy rolling quake. OK. Definitely nothing compared to the California quake. That must have been scary.

    Earth quakes, blizzards, hurricanes, crazy thunder storms ...they all excite me. I'm kinda of a fan of natural phenomenons I guess, as long as no one gets hurt of course.

  7. yeah i'm sure i'd be freaking out like you! i try to act calm under pressure like that, but in my mind, i'm freaking out lol. of course, here in texas, i've never experienced a earthquake, but i've definitely been around when there are hurricanes or tornadoes! glad you're ok though heather :)

  8. So glad you were okay! I definitely would have been shaken up after that one.

  9. One of the biggest ones I remember aside from Northridge, was the whittier one when I was in 5th grade. I just remember that my best friend in class had to move out of her home and into their vacation RV for months as they fixed the house which was in ruins/shambles. Earthquakes are scary no matter where you are, but knowing they could come can make you more prepared. Yesterday's totally caught me and my mom off guard - both Californians - and it took us a few to get our whits about us!

  10. So glad you're ok! Thank you for the nice words over at my "place" about cancer! I'm glad that ended up ok for now too.


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