Sunday, January 10, 2010

Extreme!

Everyone who is everyone is talking about the weather. Bloggers I regularly read are talking about snow days in the most unlikely places. When the tweets aren't about what was for breakfast, they're about how cold it is in Florida or Nashville or Michigan. To be sure, the folks in the Northeast must be chortling at how whiny some of the central and southern Florida residents are. Even Sunday Scribblings offers up a prompt this week based on the extreme weather in the U.K. [Pete, of course, tracks all that and showed me a totally cool -- cold -- satellite picture of the U.K. covered in the white stuff with ice forming on the seashore.]

I'm going to talk about another weather phenomenon: earthquake weather. Now, most of us around these here parts believe that earthquake weather is most defined by an unseasonably warm day with no sign of fog coming or going and a sense of "heavy breathing" air. There's no wind. Everything is calm.

SHAKE. JOLT. CRASH.

Out of nowhere, the earthquake comes. And life doesn't seem normal again for a set period of time. That period of time corresponds directly to the severity of the quake.

A 3.2? Chump change. I'm not even vaguely bothered. I'm amused, really.

A 4.8? Okay, that's got my attention. But even the local news stations only run the clips of it through the next day's morning news programs. And the clips all emanate from a local liquor store with a dozen broken bottles on the ground. [And the most suspicious of us think the owner probably broke the bottles himself as a scam.]

A 5.7? Oh. My. God. Did you feel it? Where were you? We lost some of the kids' homemade ceramics off a shelf and we had to wait four hours for PG&E to turn the natural gas back on. How about you? Aftershock! Hold on, kids!



A 7.1? I am standing in the doorway of an office on the 10th floor of a 26-floor building built in 1926. I am looking at an interior wall which is opening and closing. When it opens, I can see the outside. I am muttering a mantra of "Holy f&cking sh&t we're gonna die! Holy f&cking sh&t we're gonna die! Holy f&cking sh&t we're gonna die!" When the shaking stops, it is eerily quiet for just a moment. Then I hear so much noise: car alarms, bricks and mortar and gargoyles falling many stories and hitting the ground, sirens, people. We think quickly, far more quickly than most others, and we are able to get the hell out of downtown San Francisco easily. It is months before I do not jump at the shaking caused by trucks going past or do not think it's an earthquake when a plane hits turbulence at 33,000.

There have been a series of earthquakes in California over the past week. The ones in the San Jose area are apparently totally unrelated to the 6.5 one near Eureka yesterday afternoon. There is no such thing as earthquake weather. It is a phenomenon made up by fearful people who want to find a pattern to prepare for the extreme. An extreme that, sadly, can't be predicted.

Wait! Oh, never mind. It was just a truck passing by.

14 comments:

Andy Sewina said...

Earthquake!
Phew,that is extreme, and we're worried about a couple of inches of snow.

Tara R. said...

Friends and family get all freaky about me living in a Hurricane prone state, but I'll take a storm over an earthquake any day. At least with a hurricane you know DAYS ahead of time when one is headed your way, you can plan, you can evacuate if needed. Earthquakes are sneaky bastages.

Stay safe!!

Michele R said...

Here is my tweet (if I tweeted) "It is colder in Atlanta than Alaska".
I lived in L.A. as a child so I say no thanks to earthquakes! We'll just forget about the fact that there are some big faults in the South.

This Eclectic Life said...

My son lives in San Francisco and tells me about earthquakes. I've stopped worrying about him ... but I still shiver when I hear folks talk about them. I guess it's no worse than living here in tornado alley.

Lilibeth said...

I'm in tornado alley too. At least there is some predictability to them, and it's possible to outrun them as well. I've lived in other places though and been through five earthquakes that were severe enough to remember. You don't forget that ground jerking around underneath you. That's extreme.

Giggles said...

Scary to say the least....so far, cross our finger....we've been pretty lucky here in British Columbia...however the island had one
not too long ago!

his isn't the first post I've read about your earthquakes....but this is the most descriptive for sure!
All the best on that one.

Hugs Giggles

keiths ramblings said...

We don't get those in the south of England - YET!!

Dee Martin said...

Holy crow! I'm in tornado alley and abso-freaking-lutely hate the things but I think I would hate earthquakes more. I don't even want to think about what it was like in that building that day - I'm shivering and it has nothing to do with the cold!

Granny Smith said...

I'm a fellow resident of the Bay Area and relate to every one of your reactions to the various severities of earthquakes, including the big one, when I took shelter under a door frame then had to fend off the door being swung by the earthquake. I watched the door frame distort itself into parallelograms and cracks appear in the plaster around it. But the thing I remember most is the NOISE! My door chimes were ringing and everything seemed to be rattling and/or falling.

D... said...

I can't even imagine the totally unpredictable earthquake.

CrAzY Working Mom said...

Oh my...we worry 'bout tornadoes here, but we can get a fairly small warning when they're headed our way. I can't imagine earthquakes!!! Although we do live on a fault line, we've felt little shakes, but nothing major. They have predicted for years that the New Madrid Fault would shake the state some day, but (knock on wood) it hasn't as of yet.

Americanising Desi said...

i cant imagine anything like this...

I am sorry for the late arrival to Sunday Scribblings but I had to pay you a visit :)

Happy SS

Extreme 'Caution'

linda may said...

Interesting post. Here they are very rare. I had one that was in the low 3's once where I lived before and it was like um, was that what I thought it was.But it did sound like a truck had parked in our driveway with the motor running. Scary that you can't work out a warning before hand isn't it.

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