August 23, 2011 Facebook TwitterMore...

Yes, it was an earthquake


While 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 was shaking.  The roof was creaking, the pictures were banging on the wall, and creosote was knocked loose and falling down the tall pipe for my wood stove.

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 earthquake?”

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 hurricane!

“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 inland.

Some islanders have reported feeling aftershocks, but I haven’t felt any.

So now it’s back to writing about the hurricane that could be on our doorstep in about three days.

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