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August 23, 2011 - Mel Toadvine
An earthquake along the E. Coast

If you’re like me, you may be wondering what is going on around the world these days when it comes to natural disasters such as hurricanes, tornadoes, earthquakes, extremely hot weather and in the winter, very cold winter and record amounts of snow. And now an earthquake along the East Coast that occurred on Tuesday, Aug. 23 shortly before 2 p.m. Although it was a mild one – 5.9 on the Reiter Scale, it shook enough for millions of people along the East Coast to realize there had been a tremor from a quake. And those closer to Washington, D.C., felt the tremor a little more strongly since the epic center of the quake was around 50 miles to its southwest. Most ran from the buildings they were in. Same with Baltimore when people raced out of their buildings. My daughter lives in Maryland and shortly after the quake shook the building in which she works in - on the college campuses there, she forwarded me a text message that there was an earthquake. The message had gone to her cell phone and to all others at the college from the president of the school. My daughter said it was one of the first times that the college had used the “text all people” on campus when something abnormally is happening. She told me that she was sitting at her desk when it started feeling like someone was shaking her chair back and forth. Then she noticed the walls in her office were slightly moving back and forth. All of this took, she said, about 20 seconds. Those in her office took no time to think: “Earthquake,” and they raced out of the building and far enough away from the building should there be a major quake and the building come crumbling down on them. For all the years I lived along the East Coast in Maryland, never have I remember any type of quake. We always felt safe and thought earth quakes only happened in other parts of the world and along California’s west coast. A nephew living in San Diego a few years back told me on Facebook that there had been a quake and he could feel tremors of it in San Diego and it was a little strange. Down here in Florida, there were no reports of feeling the earth below us move. However, some in the Carolinas noted they felt the tremor and so did those as far north as New England who said they felt a slight tremor. Having lived in Maryland for a long time, I would have hated to have been in the Chesapeake Bay Bridge tunnel going to Annapolis and Baltimore or in the two tunnels in the bridge from Norfolk, Va., to the other side of the mouth of the Chesapeake Bay, to the Eastern Shore of Virginia. I don’t want to be on a bridge or a tunnel over and below the water if there is going to be a quake. Early news indicated that there was little damage to the quake which was felt stronger in the Washington, D.C. area. Someone did report the National Cathedreal had been damaged slightly because something from its top fell to the ground. If there was more damage, I would have to wait until later in the evening to see the news on cable. The grounds around the Capitol, the White House and the Washington Monument were closed for a while to make sure there hadn’t been any structural damage. I’ve been up that Washington Monument many times, one being when I was in high school and my friends and I thought we saw our bus pulling out to leave and we raced down almost 1,000 steps. It was the wrong bus; our bus was still there – waiting by the way for we three boys. All within a few days, a threat of Hurricane Irene headed for Florida, and now this, a slight earthquake along the East Coast. What else is going to happen? And my co-worker, Karen Doll here at the office, said it wasn’t even a full moon. We joke about full moons in the news business because it always seems that strange things happen on those nights If nothing else, the quake and the announcement of the first Atlantic tropical storm that was headed toward Florida and later the Carolinas, should make us think about our own survival. And here in Florida, we should not take it lightly. We all need a survival kit of food and water and batteries, and yes, a can opener that you use by hand, and a plan of action should a hurricane bear down on us. I’m ready with the latter. I have canned food ready to grab and a flash light and water. If a bad one was threatening this area, I would make a quick decision, do I drive away to the opposite direction, north hopefully, because I know I can outrun a hurricane, or do I head for a local shelter. I am more inclined to jump in the car and flee. These are things we all need to keep on our minds, especially now that the worst of the hurricane season is soon upon us. Keep your ears and eyes open and stay safe.


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