Shake, Rattle & Roll

We all remember where we were at 1:51 PM six years ago today. We experienced the second strongest earthquake on record in the East. I was upstairs tying my tie getting ready for work. I moved into a door jamb at first but then ran downstairs and outside to check on my niece. You're not supposed to go outside.

Officially the USGS (United States Geological Survey) measured the quake as a 5.8 on the Richter scale. It is not that unusual for small earthquakes to occur in the East. What was unusual about that Tuesday’s quake was its intensity, its duration and its scope. The 5.8 rating on the Richter scale was the second strongest earthquake ever measured in the East. The only stronger earthquake was way back in September of 1886 when a devastating 7.3 earthquake struck the Southeast United states. The earthquake produced intense shaking that lasted anywhere from twenty five to fifty five seconds. That duration is very long for an East Coast quake. Finally, the scope was incredible, as we know the earthquake was felt from Charlotte to Detroit to Toronto to Boston. The repair to the National Cathedral is still years away from being completed.

Also on this date in 1933 the Chesapeake-Potomac Hurricane moved east of Hatteras and then over Norfolk at 9:20 am and then moved up the west side of the Bay just west of Washington. The storm surge was eleven feet downtown. With the center of the hurricane passing just to our west we ended up with the worst possible conditions. Winds gusted between thirty five and fifty miles per hour in the Metro Area and to near hurricane strength at Norfolk. Isabel took a similar path in 2003 and broke some of the storm surge records set in 1933 and wind speeds. (Gust: 58 mph @ National)