Big earthquake hits downtown Seattle
February 28, 2001 10:59 AM   Subscribe

Big earthquake hits downtown Seattle I'm sitting at work in the Real Networks building. We have just experienced close to a minute of jostling and shaking. There is now a six foot crack on the wall of my office. Looking around, nothing appears to have fallen over, but there are crowds of people on the sidewalks. [I'll post a link in a comment when king5 gets around to reporting it.]
posted by Mars Saxman (96 comments total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Mars, I'm at the bottom of Capitol Hill off Denny. A brick building across the road just lost most of its facade and dumped a few tons of rubble onto a guy's car. That was by far the biggest quake I've ever been in. Nobody here got hurt, though. Whew.
posted by Skot at 11:03 AM on February 28, 2001

What's amazing is this news is breaking on MeFi, when it hasn't been reported yet on CNN or Yahoo. MSNBC's got the only mention, and that's just "NBC NEWS BULLETIN: Earthquake jolts Seattle area. No reports of damage, injury"

Good to see we turn to friends and family first when there's news. Hope everybody's ok.
posted by anildash at 11:06 AM on February 28, 2001 [1 favorite]

I'm listening to KCMU and the DJ just said something about "things are shaking, we're having an earthquake" and then was silent for a short while -- scary! He came back on to say they were having an earthquake, he just heard a chuckle down the hall, he's going to put some music on and see that everything's alright.

I checked Yahoo, the Seattle papers, and the USGS Near Real Time Earthquake List but MeFi had the first report I could find.
posted by sudama at 11:06 AM on February 28, 2001

I cannot even imagine an earthquake. I hope you all remain well.
posted by thirteen at 11:06 AM on February 28, 2001

When I first moved to LA in 1990 I used to laugh at the locals who would freak out every time there was a little tremor. I used to laugh as the ripples of the quake moved beneath my feet. Then the big earthquake in 1994 hit and I was thrown from my bed and it felt like the end of the world. My office was condemned and there was a huge piece of wall sitting right where I would have been sitting had the quake not hit at 4:30 a.m.. Over the next few weeks I was doing work with the City of LA to help people identify options for rebuilding (FEMALE etc), and saw first hand the huge amount of damage in the Cartridge area. Shortly thereafter I moved back east. Screw earthquakes.
posted by terrapin at 11:11 AM on February 28, 2001

I just heard it's coming in 6.2. As my first earthquake it was pretty scary. I'm on the 3rd floor and it shook something good.
posted by john at 11:12 AM on February 28, 2001

MetaFilter scoops national News TV and Web sites. I wonder what combining "opensource" trends & users all over the world can do to the news business?
posted by quirked at 11:12 AM on February 28, 2001 [1 favorite]

The P-I only has the following to offer (so far):

Earthquake rattles Puget Sound area
A rolling earthquake hit the Seattle area shortly before 11 this morning.There was no immediate word on damage or injuries, but some buildingsdowntown were evacuated and reports circulated of light fixtures falling in some offices. Details to follow

I hope ya'll are okay.
posted by Avogadro at 11:13 AM on February 28, 2001

Whoomp - I'm by Myrtle Edwards park (near the PI building) scared us shitless, everyone ran out in the street - I found myself looking at the water on Puget Sound just to be sure nothing was coming. Still on an adrenaline rush, they just let us back in the building. I hear there's no major damage yet - it was a 6.2 I think I heard.
posted by kokogiak at 11:16 AM on February 28, 2001

jesus. i've been thinking of moving to seattle in about six months.

first riots . . . now earthquakes. maybe i should stay in boston . . .
posted by christian at 11:18 AM on February 28, 2001

hey, felt that down here in portland too. sucks working in a basement.
posted by chrisroberts at 11:19 AM on February 28, 2001

funny, CNN still has no news, but is now showing "breaking news: earthquake hits seattle, details soon"

BTW, I linked to a webcam, since I can't reach any seattle news sites right now.
posted by mathowie at 11:20 AM on February 28, 2001

new t-shirt: "MeFi, where earthquakes are reported first!"
posted by megnut at 11:20 AM on February 28, 2001

Unbelievably, we felt this in Portland. We had a good 30-second sway here on the third floor of the courthouse downtown. We were stunned to hear where the epicenter was.
posted by frykitty at 11:21 AM on February 28, 2001

They're saying 6.2-6.5. My whole house started shaking and I looked out the window at the 25 story high rise next to me [U District] and RAN. News story here.
posted by jessamyn at 11:23 AM on February 28, 2001

KING 5 local coverage (video)

Said they felt it as far away as Salt Lake City, UT. Yeesh.
posted by kokogiak at 11:23 AM on February 28, 2001

#1: MetaFilter.
#2: ABC News.

I hope everyone is okay.
posted by hijinx at 11:23 AM on February 28, 2001

I share the sentiments of concen already expressed.
BTW, MeFi wasn't here first. Gotta love NPR (Science Friday, Feb 2) Real Audio sound
posted by Octaviuz at 11:24 AM on February 28, 2001

I have to admit that this weekend when we had a 4.4 in San Francisco, I checked Metafilter first and was somewhat disappointed not to see a thread...hope everyone's doing ok.
posted by judith at 11:27 AM on February 28, 2001

My girlfriend just called to give me the home damage (just a couple of bar glasses lost, lucky lucky). She was home taking a nap when it hit. Can you imagine? She groggily thought someone was trying to break in the front door.
posted by Skot at 11:28 AM on February 28, 2001


The computer on my desk at work walked within a couple of inches of falling to the floor, but nothing else seems out of the ordinary.
posted by grimmelm at 11:30 AM on February 28, 2001

Looks like (from the video) a lot of buildings were damaged in the SODO area, nothing major, but a lot of bricks on the ground & some damaged roofs.
posted by kokogiak at 11:31 AM on February 28, 2001

I was driving at the time and didn't even realize there had been an earthquake. I was all ready to raise some hell because "someone" had knocked a bunch of stuff off my desk until I got clued in. I think I must have been on the bridge over the canal on I-5 (in the express lanes) because I recall having a little difficulty keeping my car in its lane. Thought it was just wind at the time and was mystified when I drove into town and saw people gathered on the sidewalks.
posted by kindall at 11:33 AM on February 28, 2001

aie. was just talking with a coworker from Vancouver last week, who was saying he was terrified of earthquakes happening there---I said "Well, in Florida we had hurricanes, in Georgia I saw some nasty tornado damage, everywhere has its own regional disasters"---he said, "Yeah, but you get at least a little warning with those things."

And then I think he said "screw earthquakes".

Hope everyone's okay (and that your belongings are well-insured!)
posted by Sapphireblue at 11:40 AM on February 28, 2001

CNN is showing video of a Microsoft event. It is a pretty good shot of how crowds deal with quakes. some of the folks know what to do, others look around clueless.

Bill Gates scampered away of course.
posted by DragonBoy at 11:41 AM on February 28, 2001

Damage reports: The top of the Fenix Underground shook loose, part of the Icon Grill fell off, Harborview [the hospital where people without insurance go] declared unsafe b/c of sketchy gas/electric.... I heard a lot of stuff fall from the place upstairs. Interestingly, this is the day the DCLU is coming to inspect my place for [my landlord's] housing code violations. Maybe my landlord can say that the furnace broke in the quake and get insurance. At least that way I'd have heat.

I have no idea what "no major damage" means in these instances.
posted by jessamyn at 11:50 AM on February 28, 2001 [1 favorite]

they're saying now it was a 7.0 quake, 30 miles deep.

what would a 7.0 do closer to the surface? terrible to contemplate.
posted by Sapphireblue at 11:55 AM on February 28, 2001

Wow. I hope you all you Oregonians are ok...
posted by sonofsamiam at 11:57 AM on February 28, 2001

In the stairwell of the building I work, the back wall of each landing has an identically-placed horizontal crack that gets deeper on each successive floor as you go up the building.

I'm willing to sell rubble in a baggy for thems as wants a souvenir.
posted by argybarg at 11:58 AM on February 28, 2001

One nice thing about this earthquake is that it has shaken out all the Northwest MeFi'ers so I know who you are.
posted by argybarg at 12:01 PM on February 28, 2001

So, CNN reports its epicenter at 11 miles NW of Olympia, or 30 miles SW of Seattle. Isn't that right about where Mt. Rainier is? Is it coming to life again?

And I just moved from Portland two years ago. I get no fun.
posted by norm at 12:10 PM on February 28, 2001

We felt it here in Vancouver, BC. I thought it was construction of a new condominium development, but when the shaking didn't stop -- and got stronger -- I ran to the doorway.

I'm originally from Atlanta, the land of weather extremes and tornadoes. Before moving here, I used to joke that between a tornado and an earthquake, I'd rather take my chances against a tornado, because at least they can be forecast. My opinion hasn't changed a bit.

This was my first earthquake. I hope it's my last for a very, very long time.
posted by likorish at 12:16 PM on February 28, 2001

I just heard a report of 3 in critical condition and 9 in serious condition, receiving treatment at a trauma center. SeaTac Airport is also closed. My thoughts and prayers are with everyone in the area.
posted by Dreama at 12:22 PM on February 28, 2001

what would a 7.0 do closer to the surface? terrible to contemplate.

As a comparison, San Francisco's terrible 1989 quake was a 7.1
posted by Dreama at 12:24 PM on February 28, 2001

I was in Taipei when the earthquake hit Taiwan a year ago. It was quite frightening. The casualty rate was quite high because a lot of the buildings were poorly constructed. So far, the news from Seattle doesn't seem so grim. Hopefully the news will stay that way.
posted by Loudmax at 12:25 PM on February 28, 2001

I was on the 3rd floor of a building at 6th and pike. We were told a year or so ago that the building does not meet current earthquake standards. I was listening to a billy bragg cds when rumbling started and items were tossed to the floor. It seemed to last a looong time. Everyone had to leave the building and it's still closed for safety checks. As such, I headed home.

Various items all over my apartment floors, but apparently no real damage. Um, I'm rambling. And I'm hungry.
posted by gluechunk at 12:26 PM on February 28, 2001

>Harborview [the hospital where people without insurance go] declared unsafe b/c of sketchy gas/electric...<

harborview is also the region's only Level 1 adult and pediatric trauma center and regional burn center.

they've gotta upgrade that facility; it needs to be standing and in good shape for any and all earthquakes.

posted by rebeccablood at 12:26 PM on February 28, 2001

Eeep! It shook my house here in Portland. 1920's era Victorian on a hillside. I grabbed the cat and stood in a doorframe. It seemed to last quite awhile and the hanging lights shook for a good long while.


I am so *not* a fan of rubble.
posted by amanda at 12:27 PM on February 28, 2001

I tried to call friends in Gig Harbor and got the following recorded message:

"Due to the earthquake in the area to which you are calling your call cannot be completed at this time."

Now that's a new one by me.
posted by terrapin at 12:28 PM on February 28, 2001

I'm in Olympia, WA, which is the place that's being listed most frequently as the epicenter. Apparently this was a 7.0 earthquake (I've heard everything from 6.1-7.0), but it was a *deep* quake. Those of us who were standing on the ground could feel that it was deep and rolling--not sharp and shaking.

Damage is remarkably minimal (all we lost here at my house in Oly is a houseplant and one bottle of massage oil), and we owe it to the depth of the quake.

I will admit that from where I was (standing on the ground), it was quite fun. The ground rolled, the trees danced, and I laughed and laughed.

Sounds like most of those injured were hit by facades falling off old buildings. My prayers go out....
posted by arielmeadow at 12:29 PM on February 28, 2001

cbs reported on the quake and then i checked metafilter. this thread hadn't begun yet. cbs said it was felt as far away as salt lake city.
posted by centrs at 12:31 PM on February 28, 2001

Good Lord - I just saw a report by a seismologist at UW - the quake was so rough and so long (way off scale, shaking for 20 minutes) that it actually broke the pen that marks the drum on the seismograph. He also said "It was big, but not 'the big one'."
posted by kokogiak at 12:33 PM on February 28, 2001 [1 favorite]

norm, wrong direction. Rainier is NE x E of Olympia.
posted by argybarg at 12:34 PM on February 28, 2001

where can i see this video of bill gates running for cover?
posted by afx114 at 12:34 PM on February 28, 2001

This MSNBC link to top stories for Seattle is kind of interesting.

What's happening in Seattle today?
Environmental Activism (Asbestos)

Sounds about right. (Well, except for the earthquake and rioting.)

Screen cap here.

posted by amanda at 12:35 PM on February 28, 2001

Living in Boston and never having experienced an earthquake, part of me wants to know what the fuss is about. Nothing "exciting" like that ever happens here. Its not that I *want* one, I just want to know what its like to be in one. I'm curious about what getting shot feels like too, but not so curious that I want to go out anf find out.

Having seen reports of the damage that earthquakes do, I guess I should count my blessing that we don't get them. Scientists claim we're due for a biggie, but nothing yet. The only disaster Boston has ever had was some sort of mollassas (sp?) flood. I kid you not.

I hope all you Northwesters are OK and that the damage is minimal.

posted by bondcliff at 12:36 PM on February 28, 2001

afx, Bill was napping in his aromatherapy oxygen bubble at the time of the quake, and was undisturbed thanks to the diamond shocks built into the foundation of his home on Lake Washington.
posted by arielmeadow at 12:36 PM on February 28, 2001

harborview is also the region's only Level 1 adult and pediatric trauma center and regional burn center.

And Harborview is apparently where all 12 of the severely injured have been taken. Ouch.

posted by Dreama at 12:41 PM on February 28, 2001

For more info check out this site. The shakemap is not coming up for me. They just gave out the URL on TV so it's probably being hit hard.
posted by john at 12:45 PM on February 28, 2001

Here's the picture from the USGS.
posted by Steven Den Beste at 12:51 PM on February 28, 2001

Just heard report that Harborview Hospital IS OPEN.
posted by arielmeadow at 12:55 PM on February 28, 2001

Well.. excuse my language, but holy crap. The power just came back on here (Fraser Valley, east of Vancouver). No major damage to the surrounding buildings, but apparently there's been a number of bad accidents and resulting car fires from all the traffic lights being knocked out. Hope y'all in the Olympia area got off so lightly (and nice posting, Mars.. you're fast on the draw!).
posted by jess at 12:59 PM on February 28, 2001

Oops, let me try that again.Seattle DJ during earthquake.
posted by arielmeadow at 1:04 PM on February 28, 2001

From an AP wire story:

"Screams erupted at a nearby hotel, where Microsoft founder Bill Gates was addressing an education and technology conference. He was whisked away as his audience bolted for the exits. Some were knocked down by others trying to get out and overhead lights fell to the floor."
posted by suemoss at 1:06 PM on February 28, 2001

d'oh! Good call, Argybarg.
posted by norm at 1:07 PM on February 28, 2001


I also work at RealNetworks, and I also went to MeFi first thing. ;) I appreciate all the support listed here. I'm pretty shaken up, (returning home to see that my fishtank spilled water through the lid didn't help) and it's helpful to read these comments.

Thanks everyone, and my thoughts go out to those injured.
posted by jragon at 1:10 PM on February 28, 2001

Everyone has their own spin on things - I love that CNet's covers this earthquake story (here) by reporting which tech companies were affected (amazon, drugstore, msft), and how much (amazon may be empty for a couple days for inspection).

Sitting on the ground floor of an old 5-story warehouse built on fill (my startup's office space), my perspective had a lot less to do with worries about microsoft and a lot more to do with saving my own butt (and thinking of my family at home).
posted by kokogiak at 1:28 PM on February 28, 2001

My little brother is funny:

> '"Everybody just started running ... because we
> were just scared," a witness told KIRO...'
> yes, lets run from the earthquake. how'd that
> work out for you then?
posted by bizwank at 1:33 PM on February 28, 2001

MSNBC just said it was downgraded from a 7.0 to a 6.8. They also just showed a clip from a city council meeting when the quake happened - that was freaky.
posted by pnevares at 1:35 PM on February 28, 2001

My DCLU inspection for today has been cancelled for the forseeable future.
Big surprise. On the good side, all the busses today are free!
posted by jessamyn at 1:40 PM on February 28, 2001

Apparently this was not "the big one" since the Seattle Fault was not affected and it was a deep quake (shallow is more damaging). So even though it registered somewhere between 6.2-7.0, the quake is being called moderate. Experiencing this moderate quake from under my desk was enough for me. I hope to hell I never experience a severe one.
posted by julia at 2:53 PM on February 28, 2001

I've read metafilter for a long time now. But haven't been inspired to take part until now.

This was my first earthquake. Ewww. Not as "fun" as I thought it might be. It pretty much rocks one's foundation upon which everything is built. If you can't trust the solid ground beneath what can you trust?

The cold winters of Minnesota seem awfully tempting at this point.
posted by borgle at 2:56 PM on February 28, 2001 [1 favorite]

Best wishes to all affected.
Quakes are unheard of in Ireland (I live in Dublin).
The only one in my lifetime was in the mid 80's and was about 1.5 - 2.0 on the Richter Scale.

And there was a huge commotion and excitement over it.
Me, I slept through it.

I'm looking at going to the US to live (applying for Greencard) and if I go, I was contemplating San Francisco or somewhere on the West Coast. Thing is, I would be afraid of losing my livelihood and possessions from a quake.
I'd be interested in knowing what folks who are in that position think about it...
posted by tomcosgrave at 4:00 PM on February 28, 2001

I'm in Ballard. I woke up to the quake. Since most of the ones I've been in were rather short, I didn't get out of bed until about 10 seconds in. I stood in the doorway of my bedroom while the house swayed and creaked like a old wooden ship.
I wasn't scared, but I thought, 'Damn, if the house falls in on me I'm donna die in my boxer shorts.'
After it was over I yelled "Whee! Again!!" and called my mother in Skyway to she how she was doing (Shaken and stirred, but fine) then looked around to see if anything was broken. A vase had fallen and broken, but that was it!
So I went back to bed.
posted by black8 at 4:23 PM on February 28, 2001

“The cold winters of Minnesota seem awfully tempting at this point.”

We got cute girls!

I hope no one got smooshed by a building or anything. That would kinda suck.
posted by gleemax at 4:25 PM on February 28, 2001

from the city of seattle site that jessamyn linked to:

Bush Budget, Released On Day Of Quake, Would End Disaster Preparedness Program


posted by rebeccablood at 4:41 PM on February 28, 2001

So far, the news says that no-one was killed and only a few dozen people were injured. That's truly wonderful. $Billions in property damage, but that can be fixed.

But in a monumental example of bad timing, Bush today asked Congress to defund a program intended to help communities protect themselves against natural disasters such as, say, earthquakes.
posted by Steven Den Beste at 5:10 PM on February 28, 2001

Just a note about Harborview Medical center...only the older, outpatient building was shut down. The new "addition" (which makes up most of the hospital) is where all traumas are treated. They were able to treat all emergencies normally and at full capacity.

I don't know about national coverage, but here in Seattle the news focused a lot on how Bill Gates and Starbucks weathered the quake. (Gates was giving a speech at the Hilton, and Starbucks headquarters suffered structural damage.)
posted by johanna at 5:20 PM on February 28, 2001

I'm across Puget Sound in Kitsap Co., and we got a nice shake here — no damage, though, as far as I've heard. I did hear this afternoon that the parking lot for the Bainbridge Ferry was somewhat suspect and they were only letting a few cars at a time on. I suspect the commute will be nasty as a result, but thankfully I'm working from home.

Definitely reminded me of the '89 quake — it was a long one, but not very violent in its motion (at least on the ground).
posted by raku at 5:23 PM on February 28, 2001

I might as well weigh in too... Quake felt quite clearly in Richmond (suburb of Vancouver BC). Richmond, of course, is known for being built on the drained delta of the Fraser River, which means that when The Big OneTM hits, the entire city will sink. Liquefaction is not a good thing.
posted by kaefer at 5:56 PM on February 28, 2001

Microsoft Windows Broken. (Reuters couldn't resist this as a sub-heading in their coverage of the quake.)
posted by Steven Den Beste at 7:34 PM on February 28, 2001

The first report from Reuters was thrown together minutes after the quake and was reporting "A speech by Bill Gates, the billionaire head of software giant Microsoft, was interrupted and the offices of coffee group Starbucks were evacuated."

On a serious side, I hope every one is well. I used to look forward to quakes (after going through 4 above 6.4), but after moving to the East Coast six years ago they now freak me out.
posted by vanderwal at 7:47 PM on February 28, 2001

Whoa. Someone set us up the quake!
posted by muppetboy at 8:17 PM on February 28, 2001

Sheisted, heh. Down here in Eugene (about 2 hours S of Portland), we felt not a thing. A guy next to me mentioned that he thought he felt something around 11 this morning, but I didn't even notice. I'm from the East Coast, so I think it would be interesting to see a Quake (albeit a small one ^_^).

One of my good friends lived in Northridge during the '94 Quake. One of his friends was sleeping on the floor and had my friend's bookcase fall on top of him in his sleep. Their whole neighborhood was basically torn apart, which is why he moved up here. Glad nothing of that sort has happened in Seattle.

posted by Kevs at 8:36 PM on February 28, 2001

Living in Boston and never having experienced an earthquake, part of me wants to know what the fuss is about.

I'm a New Orleans native and many times have echoed the sentiments of some of the other posters on this board. I'll take hurricanes over earthquakes any day because if I'm paranoid, I have a good week to go on vacation to somewhere far inland while my house blows/washes away. (Of course the two natural disaster which ultimately sent me fleeing in terror were heat and women. Hurricanes only hit New Orleans once every few years. Heat and women are daily afflictions. :-)

The point of all of this is to say that I wondered what one would be like as well. I can now tell you, you've never felt anything like it. The largest I've experience was a mild 5.5 one (or thereabouts)--orders of magnitude smaller than the one which hit Seattle and the '89 Bay Area quake--and while there was an acute feeling of excitement, it also scared the SH*T out of me. The one I experienced was a shaker (not a roller). It was 4:30am and I was asleep. Suddenly it's as if the bed stayed in one place but the house moved two feet to the left and then snapped back to the right. Happened a few times. The bed (and all of the furniture in the room) moved progressively more over the period of the quake. You think you can imagine it because it would be like someone shaking the ground under you, but I think that because we always associate movement (driving in a car, speeding along in a motorboat) with turbulence it's more expected and less freaky. The closest analog I can think of is out-of-nowhere airplane turbulence since the experience of movement is often not perceptible. Believe me, you've never felt anything like the ground moving violently under your feet.

Which brings me to another point: Running during an earthquake.

Sure, I can see running after an earthquake, say, to avoid falling debris. But during?! 1) This is not the cheesy 70s movie "Earthquake" where the shaking last for almost half the movie. These things are pretty fast--usually well under a minute, sometimes, less than 3 or 4 seconds., 2) If it's a major earthquake, you ain't gonna be able to run more than two steps before the forces beneath you put you directly on your ass. Remember those blowup spacewalks (or a trampoline if you prefer) where sometimes you can't get your feet under you? Those things don't compare...

But here's the skinny: I remember thinking, after I first moved here, every single day about earthquakes. Freaking out about walking in tunnels or driving over bridges or being next to tall buildings. I remember creating a run on double-sided earthquake tape which I fastened to everything except my own ass.

One year later, that got boring and I simply forgot about them--or the most part. Every now and then, in a tunnel or on a bridge I might think about it. When I'm moving into a place, I now instinctively don't put expensive things up high and I always fasten large furniture to the wall, etc etc. But I do this just as someone in the south would glass in a patio. It's just what you do. Perhaps that dismissal of them is why it's so shocking when you actually do see your monitor suddenly throw itself off of your desk... :-)

I hope I never experience a major earthquake and my thoughts and prayers go out to all of those in Seattle who were affected.

Sorry for the length if not the rambling...
posted by fooljay at 8:50 PM on February 28, 2001

I think I've been trained to ignore earthquakes, at least to a degree. Here in SF, I usually don't even feel the baby ones. I just heard today about the 4.4 (someone mentioned it here too) this past weekend - I didn't even have a clue it happened. Supposedly there's baby quakes all the time when I'm sleeping, I just sleep through them.

I actually moved here in 1988 when I was 4, and experienced the 1989 quake in our garage at the age of 5. I didn't realize how significant it was back then. I think from then on whenever I feel a quake, it just doesn't feel very serious to me.

Glad to hear everything's good in Seattle. Cousin tells me he felt it up in Vancouver too, but not that much where he was.
posted by swank6 at 10:07 PM on February 28, 2001

When I lived in Portland OR, I suffered through a typhoon and several volcanic eruptions. In Corvallis the trailer court I lived in was flooded. In Boston I went through two hurricanes. Now, living in SoCal I've been through a 7.2 earthquake.

Of them, the least impressive was the quake. It was the quickest and did the least damage. The worst of the lot was the typhoon in Portland.
posted by Steven Den Beste at 10:27 PM on February 28, 2001

my location: sandy eggo, ca.
i'd rather deal with an earthquake every 10-100 years than a storm season (hurricanes, tornadoes, floods) EVERY GOD DAMN YEAR.
posted by afx114 at 11:22 PM on February 28, 2001

Don't live near NW (central AZ), but saved this page just now because I felt the "community" in this weblog like I never have before, following this thread.

Thanks, and peaceful thoughts to those affected.
posted by aflakete at 1:37 AM on March 1, 2001 [1 favorite]

Hmm. I wish I could have checked MeFi right after the quake, but we were some of the unlucky folk who didn't get the power turned back on for hours.

I'm up on Beacon Hill, and it was awfully strong up here. It felt like we were in a snow globe and someone was shaking it. It is NOTHING like you would expect, and I say that having been in a 5.1 and a 4.8 before, the 5.1 on the 68th floor of a high rise. It's also nothing like any ride that attempts to simulate a quake. Your legs feel like jello for a long time afterward, and though I feel pretty much normal now, I'm noticing that I'm awfully jumpy.
posted by litlnemo at 1:49 AM on March 1, 2001

fooljay: Thanks for that info on what a quake is like, from Chicago, where all we have to deal with is multiple feet of snow, bone-chilling cold, and hot summers.

This morning I heard there was an aftershock, and I'm hoping that it didn't cause any further damage.

Yesterday at lunch, after reading about the quake here, I figured I'd be able to find coverage on TV - there was none on any local channel. Instead of earthquake news, I learned more about the Cruise-Kidman breakup. hm.
posted by hijinx at 4:44 AM on March 1, 2001

I was south of downtown in the Safeco field area, where a big old warehouse with concrete floor and walls and beam roof is now a used PC store. Standing by the east wall, which is all plate glass windows, at first it sounded like a big gust was building up stronger and stronger outside. Then someone yelled "Everybody out! Clear the building" and I decided it must not be the wind. We all ran outside and stood in the driveway. There were some 6-line, 50-foot powerpoles overhead that were swaying back and forth.

This was my first felt earthquake... after the first few strong upward jolts, the ground settled into a slowly rolling motion, something like you'd feel standing up in a small boat in some small waves. The only noise I noticed outside was from man-made structures.

posted by Twang at 6:49 AM on March 1, 2001



it felt like I was on my surfboard, between sets. quite cool really: 6.8?
posted by greyscale at 8:59 AM on March 1, 2001

I'm confused: I thought that you were never supposed to run outside in an earthquake especially in an area (like downtown) where glass might shatter from windows and come hurtling down at you like so many glass bullets.

am I wrong?

posted by rebeccablood at 9:59 AM on March 1, 2001

Perhaps, but personally I'd rather take my chances dodging falling buildings than being inside them.

I think it also depends on the type of building you're in. Skyscrapers (and really anything with more than 5 or so floors) are generally structurally sound, so staying inside those is definetely better, but if I were in a warehouse, or other single story building, I'd bust my ass outside so as not to have a roof (or a vase) fall on my head from any aftershocks.
posted by cCranium at 10:03 AM on March 1, 2001

You souldn't run out into the street if you live in an area with a lot of tall buildings. If you can get away from tall buildings during a quake, then do so. But if you're surrounded by tall buildings, your best chance is to get to a stairwell or get to the roof.
posted by Loudmax at 10:16 AM on March 1, 2001

This is one of those situations where there's no perfect strategy, nothing you can do to guarantee your safety. No matter what you do there's a chance of getting killed. The primary and secondary effects of an earthquake are legion. What you do is what will maximize your chance of survival from all of building collapses, falling objects, fire and explosion. If I'm in a residential area, I'll try to get outside on a serious quake if I can because I'm more afraid of a building collapse. But if I'm in an area of highrises, I think I'd stay indoors because I'm not worried about collapse from a steel frame building but I am worried about getting killed by falling glass.
posted by Steven Den Beste at 11:38 AM on March 1, 2001

People don't always agree, but FEMA seems to think that staying indoors is wise. Me, I figured I could avoid glass but not parts of my ceiling falling on me if I stayed inside. Also, all the cool stuff was going on outside.
posted by jessamyn at 3:49 PM on March 1, 2001

Okay, this is my last post on the quake, BUT for those of you who are sad that you can't play along with us, here is a sound recording that I got at the radio station today from this guy......

"Hi my name is Aaron. I was asleep at my home in Interbay (lower Queen Anne) yesterday during the earthquake. My brother was in my home recording studio in my living room (we are both musicians) recording some acoustic guitar tracks. Right when he hit record to do a take the earthquake started. It came out great. Here is an mp3 of the recording in case you're interested. The recording was done with a large diaphragm condenser mic into ProTools. It has not been effected or EQed in any way. Hope you like it!"
posted by jessamyn at 4:03 PM on March 1, 2001

From Newsweek's Frontpage (scroll down to right side-bar under "Perspectives")

“OK, so where was I?”

Bill Gates (D-Mo.), resuming a software demonstration in Seattle yesterday, after he was interrupted by the earthquake that hit the region

Apparently the quake was so powerful it shook Bill Gates all the way to Congress, from Missouri.
posted by redleaf at 10:48 PM on March 1, 2001

redleaf, D-Mo. has nothing to do with Congress. it's Bill's current nickname. he was quoted in another article as saying "Maybe J.Lo will pay more attention to me this way."
posted by gluechunk at 12:22 AM on March 2, 2001

Umm... Ok?
posted by redleaf at 6:50 PM on March 2, 2001

Forget it I get it. The broken link (to my network settings?) threw me off.
posted by redleaf at 7:48 PM on March 2, 2001

Slate's Cartoon Index has links to a bunch of editorial cartoons regarding the quake, if you're in the mood to laugh at it.
posted by kindall at 10:09 PM on March 4, 2001

wow, you guys beat the national news. that kicks ass!
posted by webguyphil at 10:19 PM on March 4, 2001 [1 favorite]

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