Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Washington DC Hit by 5.8 Magnitude Earthquake

The earthquake's epicenter was in Richmond Virginia and felt up and down the East Coast. There have not been any reports of significant damage or casualties. Very unusual for a large quake to hit the on the Atlantic Coast. Obama got the news on the golf course at Martha's Vineyard.


"The most powerful earthquake to strike the East Coast in 67 years shook buildings and rattled nerves from South Carolina to Maine on Tuesday. Frightened office workers spilled into the streets in New York, and parts of the White House, Capitol and Pentagon were evacuated.

There were no immediate reports of deaths, but fire officials in Washington said there were at least some injuries.

The National Cathedral said its central tower and three of its four corner spires were damaged, but the White House said advisers had told President Barack Obama there were no reports of major damage to the nation's infrastructure, including airports and nuclear facilities.

The U.S. Geological Survey said the quake registered magnitude 5.8 and was centered 40 miles northwest of Richmond, Va.

Video embedded below.

"Via Mediaite, no one was hurt and almost no damage was done so no one’s going to care tomorrow what O was up to when it happened. Like everyone else in America with a Twitter account, I myself spent the aftermath goofing on overreactions various and sundry, especially from the media. (As I write this, the front page of the Daily Mail’s website makes the quake sound like some sort of new 9/11.) But the jokes only really started flying after everyone felt sure this was officially No Big Deal. Which is why I’m surprised by the Journal’s timeline of how things went down at the Vineyard:

Shortly before 3 p.m. Mr. Obama paused from his round at Farm Neck Golf Club in Oak Bluffs, Mass., to convene a conference call on the earthquake with top advisers, White House spokesman Josh Earnest said. The president was briefed on the scope of the earthquake and its impact on infrastructure in the affected areas up and down the East Coast.

“The president was told that there are no initial reports of major infrastructure damage, including at airports and nuclear facilities and that there were currently no requests for assistance,” Mr. Earnest said in a statement…

Mr. Obama, who has been vacationing on Martha’s Vineyard with his family since last Thursday, had arrived at Farm Neck Golf Club just after 1:30 p.m., about 20 minutes before the 5.9 magnitude earthquake hit. It is unclear if he, like many on Martha’s Vineyard, felt the earthquake at the time.

The president was seen talking on a cell phone after teeing off on the first hole.

He was on the course for an hour after the quake struck without comprehensive information about how bad it was? Bush spent seven minutes reading “My Pet Goat” after the planes went in and he’ll hear about it until the day he dies; imagine if the quake had knocked a few bridges down and it turned out later that Obama had spent the following hour teeing off. I’m amazed he didn’t run from the course as soon as he heard the news (presumably via that phone call after the first hole), just to be on the safe side. A lot of people were lucky today that things weren’t worse. He’s one of them.

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