It started with some slight suddering, like someone on the floor above our offices was moving around some heavy equipment. Then it became some pretty violent shaking. But it happened too quickly to really get scared.
The fear came afterward, when we all raced out of the building into the parking lot below. I thought at first that there might have been a small explosion in the building, since when I looked out the window I didn’t see anything unusual. But once we got outside, it was clear more than our building was affected, as lots of people were crowding around in small groups.
One of my co-workers had her smart phone of some sort and learned that it was an earthquake about 100 miles away in Virginia, and that it had registered 5.9 on the Richter scale. Wow!
We debated when we’d know it was safe to go back inside. Then a procession of workers from NOAA, the government agency across the street, started filing into the parking lot with grouping signs and walkie talkies, obviously following siophisticated procedures. When they were told to collect their personal belongings and go home, we took the same advice and did likewise.
The fear was of aftershocks and possible building structural damage. But on the way home I got to laughing, as that made no sense since lots of people live in high rises that would have been no safer than our 7-story office building. We also learned afterward that we should have stayed inside until all the shaking subsided since danger of falling debris is high.
It took a little longer than usual to get home, and I learned later that streets were getting clogged as the afternoon wore on as people left work early and were hurrying home.
Some school districts were closed today to have time to check for damage, but I haven’t heard that any were found. Just some cracks in the Washington monument and some damage to the National Cathedral.
That was one adventure I’d never suspect here.