I watch the news about the storms in the mid west and I’m so happy I don’t live there anymore. I spent several years of my childhood in Michigan. Tornado season always ruined my spring and summer. The day started off sunny and then a tornado warning broadcast. I spent the rest of the day in fear. If the storm arrived without a tornado, only thunder and lightning, I still curled up in a fetal position on the floor. We only had one close call in those 4.5 years. A twister tore between our house and the neighbor’s but neither house received damage. We lived in the country so there was lots of space between us and our neighbor. My mother stood at the kitchen window and watched it go by. She’s unfazed by tornados.
Now, I live in earthquake country. Washington has frequent earthquakes but most are 4.5 or smaller. It’s just a little shaking, not really alarming to me. The first 5.0 quake happened while I had appliances moved out of the kitchen for flooring replacement. All the sudden everything rattled and the light above my dining room table swayed back and forth. I thought, what the heck is causing the racket, and then I realized it was an earthquake. I quickly stood in a door but the quake stopped as suddenly as it started. The second 5.0 or so I missed entirely. The laundry room in my condo complex lay right in the middle of the building on the ground floor and I never felt a thing while removing my laundry from the dryer. I heard my paunchy, bald next door neighbor screaming in the parking lot. He scurried around, in total panic, yelling earthquake. I hurried to my top floor unit but nothing seemed out of place. Then, my mother called in total panic. The quake was centered near the west slope of the Cascades and strong enough to be felt 100 miles away in the eastern foothills of the Cascades. That’s where my parents live. My mother, totally unfazed by a tornado, totally freaked out about some ground shaking.
The biggie, a 7.0, hit while I was at work talking to the controller. I crouched down as the second seismic wave hit, which the controller laughed at. Then we got the heck out of the building. Actually the complex consisted of two buildings; a brick building circa 1930’s hooked to a 1970’s concrete building. The stairwell was between the two buildings and I could hear them grinding together as I ran down the stairs. Made of different materials the two buildings shook at different frequencies. Arriving home that evening, I found several items hopped off their perch but no damage.
Lived through a dangerous storm or earthquake? Please share your story.