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Filed under: Preparation & Readiness, Safety on the Road, Summer 2011

What do Earthquakes and Hurricanes have in common?

August 25, 2011 by · 2 Comments 


Some folks on the west coast have been laughing about our recent earthquake on Twitter – but for a community that is not used to the ground shaking it is no laughing matter.

The “Big ‘Un” for us east coasters hit Tuesday a little after 1 p.m.  Buildings shook, chimneys toppled, foundations cracked, and groceries flew off the shelves of area stores.  The reading was 5.9 – the most significant quake in our area in the past 114 years.  Since the main quake Tuesday, we have recorded seven after-shocks, the most recent this morning around 1:30 a.m. with a 4.6 reading.  I slept right through it.  I guess those zero gravity sleep number beds don’t shake during earthquakes.

Groceries flew off the shelves in Louisa during the earthquake

While the epicenter of the quake was only about 50 miles west of our home, we escaped any damage on our property.  Some of our neighbors within hollering distance have huge cracks in their home’s foundation.

What I consider scary is the North Anna Nuclear Power Plant lies only 12 miles from the quake’s epicenter.  Both reactors were immediately shut down and remain off-line.  We were told the facility was designed for a 6.2 quake.  According to my simple math a 5.9 is getting mighty close to the design limit.

Our next big event is hurricane Irene heading up the east coast.  Hurricanes are NOT fun events.  I spent a considerable amount of time both yesterday and today preparing for the storm.  All of the outdoor furniture has been stored inside, extra guy ropes are on the apple and cherry trees, all loose items on the property have been tied down or removed.

Inside I have extra batteries, food and water.  The camper is tightly closed and the holding tanks full of water.  I figure the extra 1,700 pounds of ballast can’t hurt in keeping her on the ground.

The generator has been checked and with 240 gallons of propane in a buried tank I am hoping I have enough fuel to keep it running.  Isabel left us without power for two weeks.  The generator burned gasoline then and getting enough fuel to keep it running was a challenge.  This time I won’t need to worry about finding fuel.

Hurricane Isabel 2003

Of course, the biggest risks we have are downed trees and blowing debris hitting the camper or vehicles.  We still have a significant number of 100-year-old oaks and tall Sweet Gum’s that did not fall to the wrath of Isabel in 2003.

A close friend has his camper permanently parked at a campground on the Chesapeake Bay.  It is a given that the storm surge of water driven into the Bay by the storm will inundate the campground possibly filling the camper with water up to the windows.  He knows that is a chance you take when you give up your wheels and tires for cinder blocks.

Now, what do earthquakes and hurricanes have in common?  Well, both of them can literally scare the beegee’s out of you!

Backyard aftermath from Isabel in 2003

How intense the storm we are due to receive Saturday night remains to be seen.  We are preparing for lots of rain and winds between 80 and 100 mph by midnight.  But, as one newscaster said this morning, “There is no such thing as a minor hurricane.”



2 Responses to “What do Earthquakes and Hurricanes have in common?”
  1. butterbean carpenter says:

    Howdy Randy,

    MAY THE LORD BE WITH Y’ALL AND THE REST OF THE EAST COAST… I learned in the Boy Scouts it’s best to be prepared and not need it than to need it and not be prepared… Our prayers are with y’all..

    Smooth roads, clear skies & balmy breezes!!! (When this is all over)

  2. d2reid says:

    My heart goes out to all those that facing Irene. Be Safe!

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