I've got some business to attend to.
5.8 earthquake LARGEST TO ROCK VIRGINIA IN A CENTURY - The biggest earthquake to hit Virginia in more than 100 years delivered a midday jolt to the East Coast from Georgia to Canada on Tuesday, shaking buildings and sending people scurrying into the streets. Most were wondering: What was that? Cellphone service was temporarily jammed as surprised residents - many of whom were already tracking Hurricane Irene - called family and friends or city emergency operations centers to ask what had happened. Dominion Virginia Power shut down the two nuclear reactors at the North Anna Power Station near the epicenter as a precaution, though its Surry nuclear plant remained online. The North Anna plant issued an "Alert," the third-lowest of four emergency classifications.
The magnitude-5.8 quake struck at 1:51 p.m. near Mineral, Virginia, about 135 miles northwest of South Hampton Roads and 38 miles northwest of Richmond. "This is a big one by any measure of an eastern earthquake." Anything greater than magnitude 5 on the East Coast is AN "EXTRAORDINARY EVENT".
The quake was the second-biggest in Virginia's recorded history. The biggest, a 5.9 tremor near Blacksburg, occurred in 1897. The state's last significant earthquake was a 4.5 near Richmond in 2003. Geologically, because Virginia is in the middle of a tectonic plate, the state does not experience large-magnitude earthquakes such as those that occur in California, which is on a boundary between two plates.
Aftershocks are likely but may not be felt. In fact, a 2.8 tremor was recorded about an hour after Tuesday's quake in the same general area. The 5.8 earthquake was felt over such a large area because East Coast bedrock is more solid than the fractured geology of Western states, which allows reverberations to travel far.
Virginia Department of Transportation staffers are inspecting bridges and tunnels and haven't found any problems. Ports and airports appear unscathed, too. "The very good news is the damage and any injuries that have been reported have been very, very minor - no significant destruction." A Suffolk spokeswoman reported cracks in several city buildings. The quake was reportedly felt in 22 states.
Cinderella's fairy godmother
LARGEST QUAKES -
This morning -
5.3 NORWEGIAN SEA
5.0 FIJI REGION
5.2 EASTERN NEW GUINEA REG., P.N.G.
5.0 KASHMIR-INDIA BORDER REGION
Washington Monument cracked by quake - Engineers have found a crack near the top of the marble Washington Monument presumably caused by the magnitude 5.8 earthquake that shook the East Coast. Structural engineers found the crack where the 170 metre landmark narrows considerably. The monument will be closed indefinitely to keep the public safe.
LARGEST COLORADO QUAKE SINCE 1973 - The largest earthquake to strike Colorado in almost 40 years has shaken hundreds of people near the New Mexico border. The magnitude 5.3 earthquake was recorded at about 11:46 p.m. MDT Monday about nine miles southwest of Trinidad, Colorado, and about 180 miles south of Denver. The quake followed two smaller ones that hit the area earlier in the day.
The quake is the largest in Colorado since a magnitude 5.7 was recorded in 1973. That one was centered in the northwestern part of the state - about 50 miles north of Grand Junction. A few homes have been damaged and deputies were investigating reports of rockslides along a highway. A magnitude 4.6 quake was felt in the same area at 5:30 p.m. on Monday, and a magnitude 2.9 quake was recorded just before 8 a.m. Two aftershocks - one recorded at 3.5 and another at 3.8 - followed early Tuesday, more than an hour after the 5.3 quake. The last time the area received such a series of earthquakes was in August and September 2001, when about a dozen smaller-sized temblors were recorded. "The area seems to be active again."
The strong earthquake startled thousands of residents along the New Mexico border as it toppled chimneys, cracked walls and triggered minor rockslides in the arid, mountainous region.
TROPICAL STORMS -
-Hurricane Irene was located about 370 mi / 595 km se of Nassau, Bahamas.
-Tropical storm 14w (Nanmadol) was located approximately 605 nm south of Kadena AB, Okinawa. The system has continued to track erratically and slowly. This is expected to continue throughout the forecast period. 14w will eventually begin to interact with another developing system expected to track toward western Japan.
Hurricane Irene strengthened to a Category 2 hurricane early this morning and was expected to strengthen further over the next 24 hours as it continued moving towards the US Atlantic Coast. While previous forecasts had warned that Irene could be on course to hit Florida later this week, the NHC said today it was now more likely the weather system would move over the Bahamas as a major hurricane and then track northward parallel with the US East Coast. Irene was about 650km south-east of Nassau and 1570km south of North Carolina's Cape Hatteras. It was sustaining maximum wind speeds of around 160kmh as it moved north. Irene was predicted to come close to making landfall in North Carolina.
Officials on North Carolina's Ocracoke Island urged visitors and residents to leave the isle yesterday, in advance of a mandatory evacuation order for all non-emergency personnel scheduled for Thursday morning. The island has about 800 permanent residents, but hosts thousands of tourists during the summer. Hurricane warnings were in effect for the Turks and Caicos Islands and the Bahamas, while a tropical storm warnings was in place in Haiti.
Tropical storm "Mina" (Nanmadol) intensified anew but also slowed to a crawl due to a tropical cyclone just outside Philippine territory.