Earthquake in Seattle : LUSENET : Grassroots Information Coordination Center (GICC) : One Thread

It definately was a 7.0. Almost rolled me off the road this morning.First thought was a flat tire, but not like any any blow out that I ever experienced before. More like all 4 tires at once. More reports of damage coming in from outside the Seattle Area.

Martin in shaky Seattle

-- Martin Thompson (, February 28, 2001


Glad you're okay!

-- (, February 28, 2001.

I hope it doesn't slow down the great postings.

-- David Williams (, February 28, 2001.

In addition to the obvious and serious structural damage, there is undoubtedly further damage to the already stressed Western Internconnection electrical power grid. The electricity and natural gas crisis, triggered by Y2K, will now deepen and intensify. Already, the CA I.S.O. has declared that the CA grid margin is lower, from "System Warning" (less than 10%)to "Stage 2" (less than 5%).

-- Robert Riggs (, February 28, 2001.

I do hope you and yours are okay, Martin. Please do give us more info about the quake as you are able to. Be safe.

-- Rachel Gibson (, February 28, 2001.

Hope you and are family are allright, Martin. Please take care and keep us posted. Swissrose.

-- Swissrose (, February 28, 2001.

Everything fine here. Reports of damage around the area is increasing rapidly. Bridges damaged, roads caved in etc. Boeing field which is near downtown, is closed due to cracks in the runway. Lots of structural damage in Seattle and Olympia. The good news is that so far there have not been any fatalities.

-- Martin Thompson (, February 28, 2001.

Breaking News Special Earthquake Coverage 6.8 Earthquake hits at 10:54 a.m.

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Locke declares state of emergency One heart-attack death. Dozens injured Damage relatively light Schools closed, reopen tomorrow. Shipping disrupted Alaskan Way Viaduct closed Thousands lose power Boeing workers sent home KeyArena events canceled tonight A powerful earthquake rocked the Northwest on Wednesday, shattering windows, showering bricks onto sidewalks and sending frightened people running into the streets of Seattle and Portland. Dozens of people were injured.

One quake-related death was reported -- a heart attack in Burien -- but no other details were immediately available.

The strongest quake to hit Washington state in 52 years shut down all shipping traffic on Puget Sound, closed the Seattle airport for several hours and knocked out power to hundreds of thousands of people.

Washington Gov. Gary Locke said damages were expected to reach the billions of dollars.

The 6.8 quake also cracked the dome atop the state Capitol in Olympia and briefly trapped about 30 people atop a swaying Space Needle in Seattle.

"Everyone was panicked," said Paulette DeRooy, who scrambled onto a fire escape in a Seattle office building.

'The Best Kind To Have'

Still, residents in this earthquake-prone region counted their blessings that the magnitude-6.8 tremor caused relatively little damage, mostly because it occurred 30 miles below the Earth's surface.

Given its strength, such a deep quake "is the best kind of earthquake to have," said Bill Steele, spokesman for the University of Washington seismology laboratory.

The quake hit at 10:54 a.m. and was centered 35 miles southwest of Seattle, according to the National Earthquake Information Center in Golden, Colo. It was felt in British Columbia, Spokane, and parts of Oregon 300 miles away. Buildings in downtown Portland and downtown Seattle swayed for nearly a half-minute.

In contrast, the magnitude-6.7 Northridge quake in Los Angeles in 1994 struck just 11 miles underground. It caused an estimated $40 billion in damage and killed 72 people.

Damage Relatively Light

Damage was relatively light in the highly developed region with more than 3 million residents. In recent years, millions of dollars have been spent for seismic improvements at schools and structures such as Interstate 5, which runs through Seattle.

Preparations by earthquake-leery residents and the seismic remodeling apparently paid off, said Seattle Mayor Paul Schell.

"I think the city has been very mindful of earthquake risks," Schell said. "We have no catastrophic damage."

"We really got off rather easily with an earthquake of this magnitude, because of its depth," Steele told KOMO 4 News.

Had the quake been closer to the surface, severe damage could have occurred from Olympia to north of Seattle, he said.

"It would have been really bad news," he said.

State Of Emergency

Washington Gov. Gary Locke declared a state of emergency -- a first step in mobilizing state services and seeking federal aid -- and surveyed damage by helicopter. He said bookshelves and pictures flew from the walls at the governor's mansion.

Schell and King County Executive Ron Sims likewise declared states of emergency.

Schell initially said 29 people were hurt in the city, but later corrected it to 25. All were treated at Seattle's Harborview Medical Center, five of them for serious injuries, a spokeswoman said.

Two of those being treated had suffered serious head injuries when they were hit by falling cornice pieces from buildings in the International District just east of downtown, Fire Chief Gregory Dean said.

Other Hospital Reports

St. Joseph's Hospital in Tacoma was reporting at least 11 people being treated for injuries, mostly minor cuts and bruises.

Tacoma General Hospital was treating four people for minor injuries.

St. Peter's Hospital in Olympia was treating 35 minor injuries -- mostly cuts, bruises, and broken bones. No structural damage to hospital, no injuries of employees or patients. They are canceling all elective surgeries Thursday.

Highline Community Hospital in Burien was treating 10 to 15 people for minor injuries.

Gates Whisked Away

Screams erupted at a Seattle 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 people were knocked down by others trying to get out. Overhead lights fell to the floor.

The quake seriously damaged computers at the U.S. Coast Guard Vessel Traffic Service, which coordinates ship traffic on Puget Sound, and all ships were ordered to anchor, said Lt. Bo Stocklin.

He also said a 2,000-gallon oil spill on Harbor Island in Seattle had been contained on land.

Apartment Building Evacuated

There was damage to a number of buildings, including a six-story apartment building that lost a corner of its ceiling, exposing one unit to the sky and forcing evacuation of the other 76 units.

Five windows burst at The Seattle Times' classified advertising building, and bricks fell from the top of Starbucks headquarters onto cars parked below.

Traffic kept flowing on I-5 through Seattle, but the Alaskan Way Viaduct, a double-deck roadway built on filled land along Seattle's waterfront, was closed as a precaution.

'Enough, Right?'

Bricks also piled up on sidewalks of the Pioneer Square neighborhood, the scene of Mardi Gras celebrations the night before that turned ugly, resulting in dozens of injuries.

"Enough, right?" Schell said of seeing the melee and quake in a stretch of less than 12 hours.

He said city crews were examining buildings for safety, and it appeared the city's Opera House at the Seattle Center had been damaged.

Schools throughout the region halted classes, but many served as shelters for children until they could be reunited with parents.

Many businesses, sent their workers home. Boeing, the region's major private employer, closed its Seattle-area factories until Thursday.

Needle Closed

The Space Needle -- a landmark dating from the 1962 World's Fair that was built to sway during an earthquake or strong winds- - was closed for 2 hours. None of those stranded at the observation deck and restaurant on top were injured.

U.S. Highway 101 buckled in places northwest of Olympia, and another road nearby was closed by a mudslide. Engineering crews were checking the Seattle area's many bridges for damage.

Boeing Field in south Seattle also was closed, by damage to the runway, Sims said.

A landslide also blocked the Cedar River southeast of Seattle, he said, and officials were considering evacuating area residents.

Rail, Air Travel Hit

Two Amtrak passenger trains with more than 220 people aboard were halted between Seattle and Tacoma while the tracks were inspected.

Seattle-Tacoma International Airport was closed from the time of the quake until about 2:30 p.m., when limited operations resumed.

Crews were constructing a temporary aircraft control tower, FAA spokesman Alan Kenitzer said. He said six of eight structural supports on the main tower were damaged, and all but one of its windows were shattered.

Puget Sound Energy said 200,000 customers in western Washington lost service, but power was expected to be restored by nightfall.

Olympia Rocked

In Olympia, about 10 miles from the epicenter, legislators, state workers and visiting schoolchildren streamed out of the damaged Capitol.

"The chandelier started going and the floor started shaking," state Sen. Bob Morton said. "Someone yelled get under the table and so we did."

Cracked plaster, gilt and paintings fell from the walls. There was fear the dome would collapse and people linked hands as they walked down the marble stairs of the building.

"If that rascal had tumbled down, it would have been all over," Morton said.

-- Martin Thompson (, February 28, 2001.

I just arrived home yesterday, after a two week stay in Seattle. Looks like I got out just in time.

Glad you are okay, Martin. Hope your motor vehicle is, too.

-- Chance (, February 28, 2001.

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