Here is a story from our local paper.
One of the most powerful earthquakes in Virginia history rippled from its epicenter in Louisa County throughout the eastern United States, but injured few people and caused little major structural damage.
The tremor measured 5.8 on the Richter scale at 1:51 p.m. today, prompting buildings to empty, cell phone service to go silent and two nuclear reactors near the center of the quake to shut down without damage.
Six students and at least one staff member at Louisa High School were injured in the quake, but only one was hospitalized.
“The very good news is that the damage and the injuries that have been reported are very, very minor,” Gov. Bob McDonnell said in a news conference this afternoon.
In downtown Richmond, three elderly residents of a high-rise apartment building were hospitalized for medical conditions and a dozen more examined at the scene after they were evacuated, but no one was injured. The 250 residents were allowed to return to their apartments last night.
A local emergency was declared in Louisa, where the quake began almost 5 miles from the town of Mineral, and where property damage was most pronounced.
The earthquake disrupted life this afternoon along the East Coast, causing the federal government to send workers home, members of the White House staff to huddle in a driveway, and the Washington Nationals baseball team to delay the start of a game scheduled tonight.
“I asked my son to hang on and he said, 'Dad, I feel it here, too.' And that's when I knew it was something more than just a local event or something going on with our building,” the governor said.
Maryland officials closed the Route 301 Harry W. Nice Bridge across the Potomac River for about two hours to inspect it. It was reopened at 4 p.m. The Virginia Department of Transportation was inspecting bridges throughout the Richmond, Fredericksburg, and Culpeper regions.
Transportation officials found no damage in the four highway tunnels in the Hampton Roads area or two mountain tunnels on Interstate 77 in Southwest Virginia.
They said the biggest problem they face is manmade. The simultaneous closure of federal offices led to enormous road and rail congestion in Northern Virginia.
Though Richmond International Airport was able to operate normally after the earthquake, the FAA control tower was evacuated as a precaution for less than 10 minutes today, according to airport spokesman Troy Bell.
The quake occurred as Virginians voted in 16 legislative primaries across the state. The governor said it did not appear that any polling place was inactive for more than 30 minutes.
Locally, the quake led Virginia Commonwealth University to cancel its convocation ceremony for new students at the Landmark Theater and prompted Richmond to close City Hall for the day to ensure its safety.
The biggest initial concern centered on Dominion Virginia Power’s North Anna nuclear plant near Mineral about 40 miles northwest of Richmond. The earthquake knocked out power at the plant, but both nuclear units were shut down without incident and no damage was apparent, Dominion said.
Zuercher said North Anna's operators were preparing to manually shut down the units after the quake when the power station's operating system automatically powered down both units, which supply about 10 percent of the state’s electricity.
“Their staff is obviously looking at every inch of that plant,” the governor said.