Wednesday, July 30, 2008

LA's Earthquake

Did you hear? There was an earthquake in the Los Angeles area yesterday. It was initially reported to be 5.8 in magnitude, but has since been downgraded to 5.4.

Of all places, we were in a shopping center in the Valley, very near the dreaded Northridge of the 1994 Northridge Quake fame. Worse still, the car was in a parking structure, the last place you want to be in the event of an earthquake.

When the shaking started, I was walking around with MetaToddler. I wasn't sure if the rumbling was normal (e.g., truck driving by), but a sales associate gasped "it's an earthquake. Everyone to the counter." I looked around and decided she was right. There were a lot of wonky racks and shelves, but there were no fixed structures other than the counter. I calmly picked him up and walked over there, so he remained pretty calm, in turn. When it was over, I saw a lot of people rushing to the exit, but our choices were essentially:

(1) stay in the department store next to the glass doors,
(2) go outside the building and stand in the parking structure,
(3) go down to the first floor and stand outside the building, or
(4) go to your car and leave.

When I saw that there wasn't a huge exodus in the parking lot, I chose to leave. It seemed the best of the four unpleasant options. I hurried (as much as I can these days) to the car, and we were out of the structure in a few minutes. The ironic thing is I always try to avoid parking structures, but in this case, this was the only parking option. Figures.

The most frustrating part was that I couldn't to make calls on my cell because they kept failing. I heard today that the network was overloaded. This was a big problem all over, apparently.
"Sprint Nextel Corp. reported a spike of 800 percent right after the quake and Verizon Wireless saw the volume jump by 400 percent over that of a typical day. It wasn't clear how long the systems were overloaded but they were back to normal Wednesday."
Overall, nerves were shaken, but very little damage has been reported. Personally, I heard one glass item crash in the department store, but nothing was out of place when we got home. MetaDaddy's dry erase markers fell to the floor. Not bad.


Anonymous said...

I can't believe something so relatively slight took out all of the cell providers. My husband couldn't get through to my office on his cell, although he was able to get a hold of me on my cell after a couple of minutes. How the heck are they going to handle a true emergency?!

MetaMommy said...

I couldn't agree more. I did hear someone say that this wasn't the big one, but it was a good way to prepare for the big one. An earthquake drill of sorts. Definitely a few kinks to work out in the system.