A little more than an hour ago, the earth moved over the heart of the United States.
A 5.6 earthquake was recorded near Stillwater, home of Oklahoma State University. I saw several reports on Twitter a few minutes after the quake struck at 7:04 a.m. that people in Kansas felt it. I didn’t feel anything in the basement of the house in Russell. My mother was upstairs and said she heard it, but didn’t feel it.
There’s always been talk of a calamitous earthquake striking along the New Madrid fault, located along the Mississippi River between Memphis and St. Louis, but it’s never happened. There have been several quakes to hit Kansas and Oklahoma recently, but this is the strongest, measuring 5.6 on seismological scales.
Earlier this week marked the 11th anniversary of Hurricane Katrina’s landfall along the Mississippi Gulf Coast. The only good thing about hurricanes is you have time to get out of the way, and with forecasting becoming increasingly accurate, there is more time to get out and save yourself and as much as you can jam into your car.
Tornadoes are a lot less predictable, but with modern radar, there is enough time to get to a safe place, as long as you’re not in a car. It’s amazing the monster tornado in Greensburg in 2007 killed 12. If it had struck 10-15 years prior, the death toll would have been in triple digits. And how many more would have died in Alabama and/or Joplin in 2011?
Earthquakes? NO warning whatsoever. Just look at what happened during the Loma Prieta quake in October 1989. Over 60,000 fans jamming into Candlestick Park for game 3 of the World Series between the Athletics and Giants. Game is only a few minutes away, and then BOOM! Al Michaels and Tim McCarver were handling the pregame for ABC when it struck.
I doubt a severe quake would ever be center over northwest Kansas, but there could one day be a strong one (7.0 or greater) which could be felt and do some damage.
It’s the first Saturday of the college football season. As much as I like watching LSU, I’m glad I’m not in Baton Rouge anymore. Game days there were insane. About as bad as it gets in Kansas is traffic on Interstate 70 when Kansas State plays. You can always find a long line of cars streaming west between Topeka and the Manhattan exit. KU games? Not so much.