As you may have heard, we had an earthquake occur yesterday afternoon. The epicenter was in Mineral, VA, and reached a magnitude of 5.8. Most people were at work were running out the door, but it turns out that wasn’t the best idea according to FEMA. I ended up half-crouching under my desk as I waited for the shaking to stop. I shot off a couple tweets, like a lot of other people, and got some quick responses from friends.
The interesting part was that (true to the XKCD comic strip), I had a friend in NYC that got my tweet prior to feeling the earthquake hundreds of miles away. This was not uncommon, as there are a lot of people using twitter and gleaning live information from it. I am finding that twitter is becoming a good resource for finding out what is going on – provided you follow the right people.
There have been reports of relatively minimal earthquake damage, and few injuries/casualties from the event. It looks like the Washington Monument will be closed for a while as they inspect some cracked stones at the top of the obelisk. I heard on the radio there were a couple walls that had fallen, but mostly property damage. It seems the biggest effect of the earthquake was disrupting the commute home.
I took the subway yesterday and when I got to my transfer to find an Orange Line train, there were none in sight. I tried looking on the WMATA website to see if an orange one was on its way, and could find one. I decided to hop on a train and get off at rosslyn and just walk to where a friend could pick me up or I could hang out with them until it was better to go home. at Metro Center, the car I was in was packed. At Mcpherson Square, we let on two or three people. By Farragut West, we were at maximum capacity. Foggy Bottom didn’t have a chance. A part of me was worried about aftershocks while going under the Potomac between the Foggy Bottom and Rosslyn stops. When we got to Rosslyn, it was insanely crowded:
I was surprised no one got hurt or fell onto the tracks. just getting off the train and onto the platform took a long time. I really get annoyed by the people who (1) walk ridiculously slow instead of just keeping pace and following the person in front of them out, and (2) the people who complain loudly about people moving and are walking right on your heels (even though you’re not the one walking ridiculously slow). I took the following picture right before I was going to exit Rosslyn station:
This picture along with the following tweet seemed to make its rounds on the twittersphere:
It was mentioned and reweeted by local Fox 5 newscaster Shawn Yancey:
I ended up taking the long walk from Rosslyn to Courthouse and met up with some friends. it only took about an hour to go what would normally be 25 minutes. I’m still concerned with how am I going to get out of the city if something bigger happened – I get the feeling the city’s emergency management is not fast enough to designate escape routes and exit plans before the big rush of people trying to leave. but that’s another post. The earthquake jokes soon followed, some of my favorites (from WCP):
“SORRY LIBYAN REBELS, THE GROUND OVER HERE SHOOK FOR LIKE 15 SECONDS. GOOD LUCK W/ EVERYTHING, WE DON’T CARE ANYMORE.” (@DanAmira)
“Two for one deals tonight, Shake Shack. Make it happen.” (@DCSportsBog)
“My earthquake brings all the boys to the yard.” (@MarissaPayne)
With last week’s flash flooding, this week’s earthquake, and a hurricane predicted for this weekend, I wonder if this is going to be a predictor for how our winter season will be.