By Chuck Woodbury
Little did I know when I went to bed Thursday night in a campground near Snohomish, Washington, that a few hours later my motorhome would be shaking like it were in an earthquake!
Actually, it was in an earthquake! It measured 4.6 on the Richter scale — not a huge one by any means. But, it was big to me because it happened almost literally 14 miles directly beneath me — that’s actually fairly shallow. I was within a mile or two of Ground Zero when it struck at 2:51 a.m. Friday morning. I have never been so close to an earthquake before. In the illustration below, my campsite was in the red circle.
I’ve been through too many earthquakes in my life to count, but most were miles away, and all I experienced was some shaking, but no damage. One was strong enough that the sidewalk outside my home buckled, like the ground was made of jello. I felt some motion sickness on that one.
The one last night got some media coverage, but with the more serious ones happening in Southern California, a 4.6 event isn’t big news.
What some people around the Northwest worried about last night was that the rumbling was caused by one of our stately volcanoes — Mt. Rainier, in particular (it wasn’t). When that magnificent Cascade peak blows again (as it surely will) it will wipe out tens of thousands of Seattle-area homes; many will be buried in the volcano’s historical mudslide flow. When Mt. St. Helens blew in southern Washington in 1980, it devastated a mostly rural area, with little damage to property or life.
I know that people who have never experienced an earthquake can have a huge fear of one. But when you’ve been through dozens in your life with no harm, you lose that fear. I went right back to sleep last night. No big deal.
If you heard about the earthquake yesterday, I’m happy to report that our staff survived with no ill effects. Hey, we’re rugged, tough, Northwesterners. It takes more than a little shaking to scare us. That said, I think I speak for many of my neighbors when I say we are terrified of tornadoes!