A rumble in Albany

I’m angrier than a two-ton woodpecker on a tree with a one-ton weight limit, folks.  That’s because I slept through a 4.8 earthquake this morning.  The epicenter was in northern New Jersey.  It was felt in New York state going from New York City and as far back as right here in Albany and actually even further than that.  Hell, it was felt in Philadelphia too.

A few minutes ago, I got a public safety emergency alert to my beloved iPhone that stated the obvious.  The alert stated that there was an earthquake and that “there may be aftershocks.”  Well, thank you, Captain Obvious!

According to the US Geological Survey, the earthquake clocked in at a magnitude of 4.8 and was centered in Northern New Jersey, 3.8 miles ESE of Califon.  The quake happened at a depth of about three miles. They are expecting an aftershock or two with a magnitude of under 3.8.  The quake occurred at around 10:23 a.m. and, according to the USGS, was felt by 42 million people.

This is only the second earthquake I’ve been in since moving to upstate New York in 2011.  So why am I angry?  I’m disappointed and slightly enraged that I slept through it.  The wife, however, did not.  She woke me up and demanded that I stop shaking the bed.  It was only when I got out of bed and checked my iPhone that I saw a plethora of news alerts screaming about the quake.

WTEN, the ABC affiliate here in Albany, breathlessly reported that people in “Baltimore, Philadelphia, Connecticut and other areas of the
East Coast unaccustomed to earthquakes also reported feeling the ground

Not to be outdone, WNYT, the local NBC affiliate, made sure that its website screamed just as loud as any other Albany media outlet. It reported that millions of people in NYC felt it and that motorists lost their minds, with many honking their horns in traffic as if honking would make the earthquake go away.

So far throughout the state, no damage has been reported and along with that, no injuries or deaths have been reported either.  The earthquake was so minor that I wouldn’t expect any of those things to occur.  this isn’t the first time that I’ve been somewhere where an earthquake occurred.  The last time was in Rome, Oneida County, New York, back in 2011.  I felt the rumble, and asked, “what the hell was that?”

The Times Union‘s website screamed at the top of its lungs that the earthquake was, in fact, a 4.8.  The headline’s huge font makes it seem as if the earthquake was actually centered here in Albany.  Governor Kathy Hochul assured the public this morning that everything is okay, but she advised citizens to be prepared for aftershocks, which could happen hours or days after the fact.  The USGS advised the same thing.

Getting back to local reports, the quake was felt throughout Albany, as well as in the suburbs, in Colonie, Saratoga Springs, the Hudson Valley, the Adirondacks and, again, in New York City. 

Things are being taken seriously.  The Federal Aviation Administration went so far as to order ground stops that brought things to a halt at the Newark-Liberty International Airport.  Amtrak reported that it was inspecting its tracks and they issued speed restrictions.

The Port Authority reported that they blocked traffic so that could inspect its infrastructure. They warned that motorists should expect considerable delays.

Hochul went on to say that bridges, roads and tunnels were under inspection.  “We’re taking this extremely seriously,” she said.

Here in Albany, the quake lasted for at least five seconds and still I slept through it.  What a bummer.  When I saw that every major media outlet in the country as well as local media were pushing out alerts, I knew that it was somewhat serious, but as it turns out, we shouldn’t take it seriously because of how minor it was.

The good news, according to WNYT, citing the USGS, which posted an alert on its X page, is that a 4.8 magnitude earthquake isn’t powerful enough to cause any considerable damage.  The USGS, according to WNYT, further stated that:

“Earthquakes with magnitudes near or above 5 struck near New York City in
1737, 1783 and 1884, the USGS said. And Friday’s stirred memories of
the Aug. 23, 2011, earthquake that jolted tens of millions of people
from Georgia to Canada. With an epicenter in Virginia, it left cracks in
the Washington Monument and rattled New Yorkers ahead of the 10th
anniversary of the Sept. 11 terror attacks.”

Judging by man-in-the-street interviews that news outlets are doing, some people didn’t even know that they were experiencing an earthquake until breaking news alerts came through.

WRGB, the local CBS affiliate, got into the act by reporting that “the Fire Department of New York said there were no initial reports of damage, according to the Associated Press.”

NBC News reported on its website and through a breaking news report that it sent to its affiliates that ground stops were also briefly occurring at New York Liberty International Airport and JFK International Airport.

ABC News went further than its competition by offering live updates.  Hochul is cited as saying that today’s quake was, “one of the largest earthquakes on the East Coast in the last century.”  Well if a 4.8 is “one of the largest,” then we have nothing to fear, folks.

Also, ABC further reported that one person thought a roller coaster was traveling through the bottom of her house at a supposed rate of 1,000 mph.  Another thought that it felt like a subway going under her living room.  The power stayed on in NYC, but it also reported that there was “limited damage” in New Jersey.

So what about an aftershock?  According to ABC, there’s a 46% chance of one happening, so sit back, relax and shake, rattle and roll.  In fact, hours after the initial quake, the Daily Mail is reporting that a 2.0 aftershock hit former president Donald Trump’s Bedminster, New Jersey golf course.  And by the way, the earthquake was brought to us courtesy a fault in New Jersey.  Known as the Ramapo Fault, it is 185 miles long.

A spokesman for NYC’s major, Eric Adams, offered pointless tips just as crazy as asking students to cower under their desk in the event of a nuclear attack:

“In case of an aftershock, drop to the floor, cover your head and neck,
and take additional cover under a solid piece of furniture, next to an
interior wall, or in a doorway. We will be updating the public very soon
with additional updates.”

The earthquake made its way to live television.  Indeed, the hens at The View started cackling when the quake hit.  Joy Behar, one of the hens in question, whined that she wanted somebody to “make it stop!”  

The New York Post played into the hype and focused on people panicking in NYC.

As you might expect, people jumped onto social media to go absolutely crazy.  Although I no longer have social media accounts, I was able to read some of the tweets about the earthquake.  One person took a picture of their lawn furniture which had fallen over, calling it “destruction in [sic] Long Island.”

Another twit made up his own breaking news tweet, wherein he wrote, the “cause of earthquake centered in NJ, discovered to be Chris Cristy [sic] fell in the bathtub.”  At least people aren’t losing their sense of humor over this.  

Then again, maybe that really did happen.  Christie may very well have fallen, but I actually think I’ve narrowed it down to a woman in my church whose ass is so fat that she has to enter the building sideways.  Preliminary reports indicate that she tripped and fell when she was leaving for work.

Other tweets focused on Albany itself, with Albany-related tweets causing the city to trend on X. The Army’s recruiting X page asked, “what’s shakin’?”

And of course there’s no shortage of people posting tweets that showed off their cell phone camera footage.  One twit claimed that he just so happened to be rolling when the quake hit.  Convenient, don’t you think?  Some people will do anything to make themselves feel important. 

Footage of people experiencing the quake?  Yup, it’s all over YouTube!  There’s footage of people in the UN.  A private person’s door camera captured the moment the quake hit.

It’s been about three hours since the quake and things seem to be calming down.  That is, of course, until the aftershock hits and then people will go crazy again even though there’s absolutely nothing to panic about.

UPDATE at 7:15 p.m.

Not too long ago, a 4.0 aftershock was felt throughout the region.   This one I felt.  It was kind of funny.  That was an aftershock?  Yawn!