Hatteras islanders and visitors were glued to weather news today and
watching Hurricane Irene’s progress toward eastern North Carolina, we
were shaking and trembling.
That is shaking and trembling – literally. Not by the news
about Hurricane Irene, but by an earthquake.
The U.S. Geological Survey reports that the earthquake occurred just
before 2 p.m. and was centered near Mineral, Va., about 48 miles
northwest of Richmond.
It was felt throughout much of the eastern half of the country – from
as far north as upstate New York, as far south as Atlanta, and as far
west as Detroit and Ohio.
I was standing in my living room watching the 1:50 p.m. update on
Hurricane Irene when the house started shaking. Everything
shaking. The roof was creaking, the pictures were banging on
wall, and creosote was knocked loose and falling down the tall pipe for
My dog went and hid in the spot she seeks out in thunderstorms.
At the very beginning, I thought we were about to have a sonic boom, a
somewhat frequent occurrence on the Outer Banks.
Then I thought to myself, “This must be an earthquake.”
I would guess the shaking lasted about 10 seconds.
As soon as it was over, the phone starting ringing with folks asking
friends and neighbors, “What was that? Could it have been an
Most everyone on the Outer Banks from the northern beaches to Ocracoke
felt the shaking, though many didn’t know what it was until the
bulletins started on the television news.
That was my first earthquake. And while waiting for a major
“Unbelievable,” is all most islanders can say.
The National Weather Service in Newport, N.C., reports that forecasters
there have been notified by the Tsunami Warning Center that no tsunami
is expected from the quake because of the location of the epicenter
Some islanders have reported feeling aftershocks, but I haven’t felt
So now it’s back to writing about the hurricane that could be on our
doorstep in about three days.