Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Large LA Earthquake From the Top Floor Downtown

A 5.8 quake rocked my birthday world today. At precisely 11:42 LA time this day started with a bang!

Wholly shit! Guess I’ll remember this one!
I’ve felt my share on Saipan and in a few other places but not like this.

What made this especially scary was not only seeing how much the building moved but also the fact I’d just left the kids, Mom and Nana waiting for the elevator on the top floor of a building built in 1925. I’d barely taken two steps back into our 83-year-old room when I was forced to stumble and catch my footing. It nearly knocked me over!

Boom! It was quick! Time enough for a “wholly shit” realization and a real quick coyote breakfast (Coyote breakfast = A quick look around and a piss). No I’d didn’t loose control of my bodily functions but, man that was scary. The walls were moving and bending, no question about it. It felt and looked like feet but I doubt it was that much although it did knock things off the TV and cause drawers to open. With the streets of downtown LA far below our window it did briefly enter my mind to run and take a look at the action below.

Instead I turned and ran out the door to see (thankfully) the stroller coming towards me with adults looking a little uncomfortable to say the least while the kids where carrying on quite normally.

Twelve flights of stairs later my heart was still going and I can tell you it wasn’t from the physical exertion of caring a 2 &1/2 year old all the way down. It took a good 10 minutes in the lobby with everyone there talking about what had happened before the legs didn’t feel quite so shaky and the ticker had lost that flight or fight response!

Mom and Nana were happy not to have gotten in the elevator; a few seconds latter and they would have been on the ride of their lives. I’m not sure how keen the little one would have been from that point on for her much-anticipated Alligator rides (Alligator = Morgan for elevator)

I’m not sure how keen I am of staying here tonight but for now there’s a birthday to remember!

Here's the BBC story.


Brad said...

Wow Mike! I saw the news on yahoo and then checked your blog! Looks like you don't miss a thing. I felt an earthquake when I was working in LA once. Not a big one though. I've felt similar ones on Saipan...but never a really big one. Glad to hear no one was hurt and your wife and kids are fine.

Isn't LA fun?

KAP said...

Bad juju. For me, earthquakes are the scariest of natural disasters. I'd like to be able to trust solid ground.

The USGS website is one of my favorites. You can even report what you felt.

Mike said...

Very glad you and yours are ok!!!!!!!

scubatripp said...

Thanks guys!

No real aftershocks that I can tell. They've reduced the size to a 6.4 and the epicenter was less than 29 miles away and about 8 miles deep. The news reports are all saying that it was a pretty big one with no real major damage or loss of life. All the street side interviews on the news channels are a bit redundant with everyone saying - this is a wake up call for LA. This seems to be the biggest in a while.

The maintenance guy at our building says there are a few cracks in the plaster on some of the walls but things have been checked out including the gas.

Something I had not really thought about but the "how to survive an earthquake" folks have been saying not to light matches or candles b/c a lot of buildings use gas - ours does!

Anonymous said...

6.4? Are you sure?

scubatripp said...

Whoops, thanks Anon, it was actually a 5.4! That was unintentional and all I can say is I'm glad it was not a 6 or more. I can still see the place shaking!

Anonymous said...

Remember the Richter Scale is a log scale so a 6.4 is TEN TIMES stronger than a 5.4. Even a 5.7 more than twice as strong as a 5.4. Hope everything is going well in LA.

KelliOnSaipan said...

Mike, so glad you guys are ok! The last time we went to LA, while getting ready to leave, we kept watching CNN since Sarah was caught in New Orleans while Katrina hit so we couldn't talk with her. We headed back to Saipan only to be kept in Hawaii 8 extra hours while a typhoon hit Guam and Saipan. It was one time I was thankful to get home to Saipan - even with no electricity. Again, glad you guys are ok.

scubatripp said...

Thanks Kelli!
I think you just hit the one thing that would have been worse for me in this situation. I was lucky to know exactly where my family was and that they were safe. I guess this parenthood worry thing never really ends but rather changes from jumping on the couch to driving a car, to traveling the world......

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Bruce A. Bateman said...

You're lucky, Mike. I used to spend quite a bit of time in LA. Never felt a quake. Sometimes small ones were reported but I had not felt them. I guess scores occur every day but are so small only the Seismograph knows.

I sure felt that 6.7 (as I remember) here on Saipan a few years back. Since there was no loss of life and no real damage to speak of, I sort of enjoyed it.

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