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Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Yep we had an earthquake in VA!

This is not the normal thing for us here in VA. Let me tell you it scared the life out of my kids. My daughter who is 8 was in tears. Lucky my parents were here so I didn't have to worry about them. I was able to get in touch with everyone after about an hour or so of trying. The phone lines were all messed up. The main part of the quake happened about 40 mins or so from us. But all is ok with us.

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.

“That was quite a jolt,” said Nancy Loveless, who lives in Goochland County near the Louisa line and lost power briefly.

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.

McDonnell was in his office in the Patrick Henry Building in Capitol Square talking with his son at the University of Virginia when he felt the building begin to shake.

“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.

Some flights to RIC from northeastern U.S. locations were late because of earthquake-related ground delays at their departure airports, Bell said.

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.

No injuries or significant damages were reported in localities in the Richmond region, but the quake prompted a flurry of emergency calls in Richmond that mostly proved unfounded.

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.

“We did lose on-site power, but all the diesel generators are up and running,” Dominion spokesman Richard Zuercher said 30 minutes after the quake. “Everything appears to be operating just fine.”

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.

The quake was the biggest in Virginia since May 5, 1897, when a 5.9 tremor began in Giles County and was felt in 12 states.

For more on the quake and how central Virginia is recovering, see tomorrow's Richmond Times-Dispatch.


  1. It was very strange. Are your kids settled down now? My parents had Little Bit today and they were in the car when it happened. They didn't even feel it! My husband works in Springfield and was on the 5th floor of his office building. He said it was a very weird sensation. I haven't heard of any casualties. Praise God!

  2. Yeah I am glad that there were no causalities. The kids are ok now.

  3. Terri,
    My son lives up by Short Pump and he ran out of his town house. We live down in Dinwiddie County and my house shook like I was on a train so I can't even imagine how much more it must have been closer Richmond or Mineral for that matter. I'm sorry to hear that your kids got scared. Mine are grown all I had to contend with was one crazy cat.

  4. That is so scary! We keep waiting for the big one here in Utah. I'm glad that you are all ok.
    Thanks for stopping by my blog and deciding to stay for a while.


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