Did you feel it?Area residents felt 5.8 magnitude earthquake that hit Virginia

By on August 24, 2011

By: JESSICA ROSE SPANGLER AND MICHELLE REIFF Review Staff, Staff Writer

Around 2 p.m. Tuesday, people from North Carolina to New York felt the effects of a 5.8 magnitude earthquake that hit northwest of Richmond, Va.

Early reports say that the Pentagon, White House and Capitol were among the areas evacuated. All memorials and monuments on the National Mall were evacuated and closed as well.

Weather.com reported "the U.S. Geological Survey said the earthquake was half a mile deep. Shaking was felt… all over the East Coast… There were no immediate reports of injuries. It was centered near Louisa, Va., which is northwest of Richmond and south of Washington. In New York, the 26-story federal courthouse in lower Manhattan began swaying and hundreds of people were seen leaving the building."

"A ‘considerable amount’ of water from a water pipe has flooded two corridors of the Pentagon, according to an announcement in the building. The National Cathedral in Washington is damaged. And Dominion Generation, which operates the North Anna nuclear power station in central Virginia a few miles from the epicenter of the earthquake, is trying to reach operational staff at the plant, according to a company spokesman. Landlines to the plant appear to be down," reported CNN.com.

Locally, a woman in the Ephrata Borough Police Department office said "some of the people in the building felt it, others didn’t. People on outside walls felt it. A resident from Lincoln Avenue called wanting to know what it was."

Ephrata Borough Hall office did receive several calls asking what was going on. An unnamed women in the office reported "one was from an elderly woman around 2:15 p.m. asking if we felt anything and if it was an earthquake. When I said ‘I don’t know,’ the elderly woman said ‘yes it was’ and proceeded to give all the specifics." Another woman called and said "I’m calling to report an earthquake."

According to East Cocalico Township Manager Mark Hiester, "people were calling wondering what it was. I did hear that in Reading Penn Street Bridge was closed due to cracks."

Rick Harrison, operations manager for Lancaster County 9-1-1 said "we had approximately 200 phone calls through 9-1-1 and regular 7-digit phone numbers directly related to the tremor — mainly just concerned citizens wondering what was going on. We did send crews to a house on Miller Drive in West Hempfield Township to investigate some bricks that fell from the home’s facade. There’s a lot going on, but nothing else is directly related to the tremor."

So other than lots of phone and Internet chatter, there were no big problems or damage in the Ephrata area as a result of the Virginia earthquake. More EARTHQUAKE, page A3

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