Monday, September 03, 2012

Going through another earthquake

They always seem to be in the middle of the night when it's warm.  This morning about 3:30 everyone in LA was jolted out of bed by something we're unfortunately quite used to by now -- another earthquake.

This one hit with a jolt but was over in five or ten seconds (or so it seemed).   The epicenter was northeast of Beverly Hills, which probably places it five miles from my house.  It registered a 3.2 I'm told.  A Facebook friend in Long Beach said she didn't even feel it.  We never lost power.  Just sleep. 

I wouldn't be surprised if we don't feel aftershocks for several days or weeks.  Generally those pack less of a whollop.  But they're disconcerting just the same.

My first thought was "Shit.  Is this the big one?"   The one in 1994 -- the Northridge quake --  was as big as I'd ever felt and hope to ever feel.  A 6.7.  That one just kept going and going.  Pictures fell off walls, glass shattering.  The house reeled and rocked.  Our chimney fell off.  And we were among the very lucky ones.

To my knowledge, only one person slept through that earthquake.  A Paramount business affairs guy who had trouble sleeping took some heavy duty pills the night before and remained out like a light until morning.  When he awoke and saw all of his dresser drawers open with clothes strewn everywhere he called the police and reported a burglary. 

After seeing that everyone in the house is okay, the next order of business is usually walking around the place inspecting for damage.  That is unless it's a BIG one in which case you grab the family photo album and get out of the house.   Or, in the case of not-so-bright former Dodger, Pedro Guerrero.  He hurt his back trying to lift his big screen TV.  That was the one precious item he felt the need to take with him during evacuation.

Next we turn on the TV or radio.  And here's where things are quite different from almost twenty years ago.  Every radio station was live.  Many TV stations as well.   Many channels were able to switch to emergency coverage right away.   Every radio station covered it.   For many of us, that meant KFWB and their extraordinarily great anchor, Jack Popejoy.   With reassurance and calm, he walked us through the crisis.   Sadly, Jack is no longer with us.   And most stations are automated.

So this morning I tuned up and dial the radio dial and found only KNX to have a live body.  On the TV side it was business as usual.  Ironically, one local channel did have news but were rerunning a newscast from four hours ago.  Imagine tuning in to a newscast after a big earthquake and that story is not even mentioned?

But it's a sign of the times and on the plus, I didn't know the USA Network was airing CHEERS at 3:30 in the morning.

Anyway, all seems to be fine.  I'll try to go back to sleep.   How are you guys doing?  Everybody alright out there?

This may be the first LA earthquake that's trending on Twitter. 

Happy Labor Day. 

19 comments:

Dana King said...

It seems local media have no happy mediums. (No pun intended.) Here in the DC area, local stations break in for even the threat of a thunderstorm, pushing the program to a corner of the screen while a weatherman comes on to talk and a large crawl displays storm locations and progress, sometimes on a street-by-street basis. (Swear to God.)

Paul Duca said...

I thought a true Angelino WOULD sleep through anything less than the apocalyptic rending of the earth.

chas said...

A shallow quake 1 mile NNE of Beverly Hills put it pretty much under my house, and it felt like it. One big jolt. It's amazing how much stronger a relatively mild quake (this was 3.3) feels when you are at the epicenter. Didn't ever bother with the radio or TV, just looked at the Cal Tech earthquake site which has the info within minutes.

Terrence Moss said...

A friend of mine slept through most of Northridge. He had to be awaken by his family and that took some doing.

I'd rather sleep through these things. They scare me to death. With that being the case, I don't know why I live in Hollywood.

Oh that's right, I get to hike Runyon in the middle of January. It's all about the give and take. :)

Phillip B said...

Twitter is now the best source for breaking news, once there is collective agreement on the hashtag. Facebook is virtually useless - the cute cats and dogs just look startled.

404 said...

Just thought I'd say: on TV right now, "Out of Sight, Our of Mind." Excellent episode, Ken!

Matso Limtiaco said...

Last week, we were at Disneyland having lunch when the 4.1 Yorba Linda quake struck. You couldn't hear any rumbling due to the ambient noise, but everyone looked up and glanced around nervously. My wife, who for some reason thinks earthquakes are exciting, said out loud to the couple next to us, "That was an earthquake!" And she had a big grin on her face like we'd just gotten off Splash Mountain. We were on the 300 level of the Kingdome during the Nisqually quake and she had pretty much the same reaction.

BigTed said...

It seems unlikely that L.A.'s network TV stations, which broadcast morning programs and the evening news three hours after they were actually recorded, really care about getting us timely information. As for local channels, they've devoted 60 percent of their news broadcasts this weekend to reassuring us that the weather isn't going to change.

As for the local channels,

Mister Charlie said...

The Dodger TV grabber may have simply been in shock as opposed to being that silly. hard to say, when the quakes hit all sorts of things runs through one's mind.

Unknown said...

In 1996 I was staying in Hollywood while on vacation and I happened to wake up just in time in the middle of the night to feel some slight shaking. I didn't think much of it....in fact, I thought it was just some big trucks on the 101 overpass that was a block away. Imagine my surprise when I turned on KNX in the morning and heard that it was an aftershock to the Northridge quake, which occurred 2 1/2 years earlier. That is the only time I ever felt a quake while visiting the west coast....on the other hand, I have felt 4 earthquakes here on the east coast. Go figure.

tb said...

First I've heard of it. Didn't feel a thing in Pasadena

Jim said...

I felt nothing in Sherman Oaks, which, I note, is Los Angeles.

This was definitely not the first earthquake to trend on Twitter, not even the first Southern California earthquake to trend on Twitter. Less than a month ago, there were the two ~4.1 earthquakes near Yorba Linda (one the evening of August 7, one the morning of August 8), and that's just the first, most recent example that comes to mind.

Mike said...

@Phillip B: The cute cats and dogs just look startled. Like it.
"Can I Haz Fire Engine, Fucking Fast?".

Pete Grossman said...

Lived in Sherman Oaks during the Northridge Quake in '94, on "liquifaction" soil (for you non-Angelinos, that's water enriched dirt that just to happens to amplify quakes). Three months later moved back to the calm and quiet of New York City.

Janice said...

Was awake, listening to the radio, felt it as well, but it was over quickly. I'm in Culver City. We too have our very own faultline.

Immediately turned to KNX because in 1994 a mildish quake here (only threw one bookcase across the room) turned out to be a major one in Sherman Oaks where my family lives. After that, nothing happened. No sirens, no neighbors shrieking down on the pathways, just silence. Freaky.

Dr. Leo Marvin said...

I slept through this one (in Santa Monica).

Cap'n Bob said...

I've slept through a train derailment, mortar and rocket attacks, and the eruption of Mt. Saint Helens. I doubt that a jolt would have awakened me.

XJill said...

there was an earthquake??! slept through it in Culver City...

Johnny Walker said...

Hope you're well recovered now, Ken!