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Seattle earthquake

Hello David and all! Thanks for your concern. Here is my short story
on the quake. I was setting a marquis in a ring at the time. It
didn’t take me long to realize it was an earthquake. I just did what
I have always planned on doing. I just got up and crawled under my
bench! If you are ever in an earthquake resist the temptation to flee
outside. If the big one hits you will be on all fours wishing you had
made it outside! Our natural instinct is to get outdoors.
Unfortunately, in a strong earthquake, you will likely not make it.
It is better to be trapped in an enclosure alive (however small)!
than taking your chances in a dash for outdoors. Even outdoors can be
unpredictable! In most developed towns and cities there is no good
place to go. Just find some supportive structure nearby and cover up
and pray! Anything that looks like it may help keep debris from
hitting you; or flattening you! Personally, I am rarely without the
thought of “where will I go right now, if an earthquake hits?” My
decided places are never more than a few feet away. Enough already!

If you were to drive around Western Washington you would hardly know
there was a quake a few days ago. The roads and sidewalks show no
increase in cracks. No residential areas in demise, nor buildings
collapsed. What did happen is a lot of small damage and some major
damage to a few structures, bridges, and highways. Several homes near
rivers, overlooking canyons, etc., have been damaged or evacuated due
to damage, or possible mudslides. Some older homes, brick structures,
and homes not attached to there foundations have some damage also.
Several older Seattle buildings lost portions there facades.

The State Capitol dome (in Olympia) moved 3/4 of an inch and there
are cracks in the support columns, and other parts of the structure
are damaged. Four hundred and ten people were injured in incidents
related to the earthquake. Most all injuries were minor. There are
twenty-two buildings that are off limits due to earthquake damage.
There are forty-six that are on “limited access.” The damage
estimates are now at two billion dollars regional, and will likely
climb higher. On or about fifteen roads, highways, or bridges were,
or still are closed due to damage. The Seattle area moved 1/4 inch
north, from the quakes effect. How does one measure that?

One really hairy problem was our air traffic control tower (Seatac
airport) that blew out all the glass and was closed, with planes in
the air! Some very level headed people work there, obviously. They
were using an auxiliary system setup in mobile vans almost
immediately! Our average traffic is 40 planes per hour. They rerouted
some, canceled other flights, and quickly got to handling twenty-four
planes an hour.

My wife works in a large store, close to our home. There was quite a
bit of debris in the aisles. Some tiles and light structure parts
fell. No structural damage to the building. Her store was closed for
one hour.

The epicenter has been decided to be in the Nisqually delta are
(great spot for salmon and steelhead fishing!)That is about 40 miles
SSW of Seattle.

No one we know had any significant damage. In our case a few items
were on the floor of our house. A few things had moved less than an
inch. Our cuckoo clock that hasn’t worked for a couple years, now

There you have it.


Hi Orchidians: 
   By now you have heard there was a 6.5 richter-scale earthquake
in the Seattle, Washington area.  Some of our members are in that
area, including our much respected Peter Rowe and Tim Dooley.  If
you gentlemen, and any other of our members affected by this
calamity would be so kind, when you have the time, post for us and
let us know that you are OK.  I hope you have faired well, and I'm
sorry for your difficulties if you have been adversely impacted by
the quake. Please help put our minds at ease and say hello, and by
all means, if there is anything we can do to help, I'm sure we will
be eager to do so. Best of luck. 
 David L. Huffman 

David, regarding the Seattle Quake, I think I can assure you almost
everyone in Seattle is just fine. When you see it on the news, all
they show you is the most dramatic damage. A brick building
collapsed to a pile or rubble, a mud slide damming up a rive and
flooding a valley, a bunch of scared but perfectly safe folks on a
modern earthquake proof building where Bill Gates was speaking all
running for the doors…

But the truth is, there was really surprisingly little damage. Yes,
it does total at least 2 billion. But that’s nothing to what it might
have been. Not at all like the San Francisco quake. This one was
6.8, not 6.5. Stronger than that S.F. quake. But it’s epicenter was
over 30 miles below the surface, which greatly reduced the sharp
sudden motion, and the remaining slower rolling motion was well
withstood by most modern buildings. The hard hit areas in historic
pioneer square, which are all old brick buildings in an area built
largely on filled in land, are still mostly OK when you walk through
them. Yes, some windows gone. In some spots, lots of them. Yes,
some buildings have serious damage. But in the whole quake, only
about 30 injuries, only a few of them serious. The only fatality was
a heart attack from panic.

That’s not to say it didn’t affect us. Was rather a wild ride in our
building (built in 1914, ten stories. I’m on the third one, wondering
if the 7 above me are going to come crashing down, while hanging on to
the door jam to steady myself and watching light fixtures swing around
and oxygen tanks wave around constrained by their chains, all the
while, with everyone scurrying around trying to figure what to do, Jim
just sits there by the laser welder, having looked up, with this
"what’s going on, and can I get back to work?" look on his face…
Chuckle. As to the building I work in, some of the walls have some
cracks in the plaster. A couple of them large enough to really catch
your eye. And a cosmetic beam, more a soffit part, is partly dropped
down on one end in our polishing room. But so far as I can tell, no
real structural damage. So at work we’re back to normal, as are all
our client stores. The airport is somewhat messed up, with control
tower damage, so they’re gonna be limited (air traffic control is now
in a temp trailer) for a while. Some of the bridges and overpasses
will be closed for repairs, but most are fine. With Seattle traffic
jams as they are (bad), just those few closed bridges are going to
cause some headaches, but the major routes are not closed. In my own
house, a few books and knickknacks fell from shelves, but nothing
broke. The cats were pretty freaked out. Other than that, no damage.
Getting to work the next day was no fun, though, as the man viaduct
route (much like the double decker road that collapsed in San
Francisco, but ours didn’t collapse) was closed for a day and a half
for inspections. But that first morning, leaving the house at
7:15… well, the first two busses never showed up. The next one got
there, I got on at 8:15. the trip through west seattle was normal,
but when we got to the main road, 1st avenue, heading north, it was a
parking lot. It took till almost 10:00 to crawl two miles. At that
point, four miles from work, I bailed and got off the bus and walked
the rest of the way. Nice day for a walk. I got in at 11. Most of
the rest of the crew, coming from different directions less affected
by the viaduct closing, were already there. Jim who also lives in
west seattle, but on an even less fortunate bus route, never made it
in at all. So it goes. Today, life was pretty much back to normal.
On the bus ride in this morning, on the now opened viaduct, as we
passed the pioneer square district, you clearly could see some
dramatically damaged buildings scattered around here and there. It
will take them a while to get it cleaned up. But as I said, most of
the city is just fine, and even the pioneer square area, while it’s
got a lot of damage, is still much more OK than not. Again, due to
the depth of this quakes source, we got VERY lucky. It could have
been much much worse. It was not. We’re all quite grateful. And I
thank you all for your kind concern.

Peter Rowe