East coast quake rattles nerves of NOLA natives

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wwltv.com

Posted on August 23, 2011 at 9:44 PM

Updated Tuesday, Aug 23 at 10:02 PM

Tania Dall / Eyewitness News

The most powerful earthquake to strike the east coast in 67 years shook buildings and rattled nerves.

Through our WWL-TV Facebook and Twitter accounts we tracked down personal stories from those who rode out the quake including people with New Orleans roots. 

"One person exclaimed, oh my gosh! Somebody else said are we being attacked?!," said Cheryl Nelson who works in Suffolk, Virginia. 

The defense contractor and meteorologist says panic set in when the earthquake hit. 

"All of a sudden we started feeling a rumbling sound. I thought, okay maybe somebody is just pushing something heavy down the hallway? But then the rumbling got more intense and louder & the room started to shake and the building started swaying a little bit," said Nelson.

Cameras also shook at the White House and Capitol Building while capturing the quake. 

"Literally our house which is a brick house, started to go from front to back, started to sway," said Bethanne Patrick via Skype.

The tremors caught Patrick and her daughter off guard in Arlington, Virginia. She responded to a WWL-TV tweet.  Both grabbed the family's dogs and stood in doorways until the shaking stopped.

"I know this is nothing like what y'all in NOLA have gone through but it was really totally unexpected.
There was no warning at all. We really had no idea what was happening," said Patrick.

The earthquake's intensity was picked up by seismology equipment hundreds of miles away at Loyola University.

"Earlier today it looks like right about there, where you see that green line start to squiggle we picked up that 5.8 magnitude quake that was up in Virginia," said Professor Martin McHugh with Loyola University.
 
Those vibrations were also felt by New Orleans native Rachel Bookman who just moved to Washington, D.C. from Louisiana for a new job.

"I was just in disbelief. I still at this moment can't believe it was an earthquake. I had always said I didn't want to live on the west coast because of earthquakes," said Bookman.

Mother nature's 5.8-magnitude kick came with very little warning and New Orleans native Todd Richardson worried that the nation's capitol was under attack. 

"At first being in D.C. your first thought is, I think that there was an explosion of some kind, with terrorism as it is and we're right above the metro station," said Richardson during a Skype interview.

The Tulane University graduate says he's well versed in hurricane preparedness, now his family including his mother who is visiting from New Orleans, will have to brush up on their earthquake disaster plan.

"You get use to what you need to do for a hurricane but you take a New Orleans resident and bring them up here and put them in front of an earthquake and they have no idea what to do," said Richardson.

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