The cats scampered under the couch, the dog whined, the window blinds rattled, the bed jiggled back and forth, the bathroom door vibrated — it was unnerving — and then exciting!
At 10:53 p.m. Saturday, we had just crawled in from a daylong trip to the Kansas City area. Not more than five minutes after family members sprawled on the couches and bed, things started getting weird. I had no idea what was happening. However, it did not take us long to figure out we had just experienced our first earthquake.
Likely a large part of Marion County had no idea there was an earthquake taking place that evening, but several people confirmed they did indeed “feel it,” when the earth moved beneath our feet and homes.
At the quake’s epicenter over 150 miles away, about 45 miles east of Oklahoma City, the rumble registered 5.6 on the Richter scale, the largest earthquake for Oklahoma ever recorded. Movement from that quake and from additional seismic activities earlier that day was felt as far away as Wisconsin. Damage in the areas affected was not major, but the whole affair was an exciting experience for those who live in tornado alley and deal with nature-induced adrenalin rushes on a regular basis.
When we felt the earth move at our home southwest of Hillsboro, my husband immediately ordered us all outside. He did this for two reasons. First, he wanted to check the water heater to make sure it was not entering a high heat danger zone. Second, once we figured it might be an earthquake, he knew it was best to get away from shaky walls and buildings, or things that might fall.
Luckily, we did not have to stay outside long because it was cold! We were also glad the water heater did not blow up and that there were no reports of injury or major damage anywhere in the quake zone.
Overall, it was an exciting and memorable experience for my family and me. I hope, if it ever happens again, my children and everyone else will remember earthquakes are not handled in the same way one deals with a tornado. Do not go down to the basement! Instead, get outside, or if that is not possible, stand in a doorway or reinforced area. These are good places to stay safe in the event of an earthquake.