Today at 1:53 PM we had an earthquake measuring 5.8 on the Richter scale. The epicenter was in Mineral, Virginia but was felt as far away as Toronto, Canada. It was a "shallow" earthquake which is why it was felt so far and wide.
For the first 10 seconds, I thought somebody was moving something large, heavy, and loud on the floor below which was causing an unholy vibration. Then, when the bookshelves started shifting a foot to each side, I realized something was wrong and that it was an earthquake.
Now, I spent 5 years in Los Angeles, so we were used to earthquake drills. You need to get under the desk or in a doorway if you're inside so nothing falls on your head. My desk is so flimsily constructed, that I decided in a flash that it was probably _more_ dangerous. So, I stayed in the middle of the floor away from shaking shelves and desks.
Strangely, I was not frightened.
After about 30 seconds, we quickly and calmly filed outdoors in case of aftershocks or building structural integrity problems. I tried to call my wife, but the cell phone airwaves were jammed with everyone else's calls. (Just like on 9/11. Some things don't change.)
A few buildings were superficially damaged, but there have been no reports of serious injuries. For example, the National Cathedral has some damage to one or more of its spires. The quake triggered an immediate exodus from D.C., and so rush hour began at 2:00 rather than 4:00.
We normally have a 3-5 hour "rush hour" on normal days. Today, _everybody_ left at the same time. Gridlock. Fortunately for me, I was in the first third of that wave, so it was merely bad traffic as opposed to standstill.
Mrs. Nod had all 6 Nodlings with her at the Doctor's office at the time. Her building didn't shake too badly at all. However, when the order to evacuate the building came, the two of the older ones, Wynken and Nod-girl, rushed down the stairs. Nib tried to follow but was momentarily left behind on the 3rd floor landing to her great consternation. Blynken helped carry Nub down from the 6th floor, and Mrs. Nod carried baby Dab and the stroller down the stairwell with her, collecting poor Nib along the way.
It was a very exciting day, but we're grateful to God that no one was hurt and that all immediate and extended family members are safe and accounted for. It would be okay if we didn't repeat this exercise any time soon.