Shake, rattle and roll

Published 2:13 am Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Beaufort County feels tremor from Virginia earthquake

The 5.8-magnitude earthquake that rattled Mineral, Va., sent shivers south to Beaufort County and points well beyond.

At around 2 p.m. Tuesday, residents across the county began reporting the telltale signs of a temblor — swaying light fixtures, rattling windows — but early reports indicated no damage was done locally.

A napping Kathryn Pisciotta was jolted out of her sleep by the tremor.

Earlier in the day, the former Californian and earthquake veteran had joked about her preference of natural occurrences in the face of a possible strike from Hurricane Irene this week.

“I think I would prefer an earthquake,” she had said.

Her joke came true.

Upon being shaken out of her nap, Pisciotta immediately checked her chandelier. As she suspected, the fixture was swinging back and forth.

“That’s always confirmation that we’ve had a little quake,” the Washington Park resident advised.

Across the Pamlico River, at Chocowinity Primary School, Kevin Scott Cutler and a fellow teacher assistant were busy cutting out colorful paper fish for a school project.

Cutler and his co-worker, Evion Garner, first noticed a quaking motion in the table where they were working in a mobile unit off the main school building.

The two were about to chastise each other for moving the table when they realized something bigger was happening.

“It was kind of weird, kind of unsettling,” said Cutler, a part-time writer for the Daily News. “It was almost like if your house was near a train track and a train was going by.”

He added the shaking probably lasted about a minute.

Melissa Henley was in her father’s building at McCotter’s Marina east of Washington when the windows started rattling.

“The windows just kind of started shaking, and I was like, ‘OK,’ the Washington High School sophomore said. “I didn’t really think about it. I was like, ‘Well, it could be an earthquake, but I don’t think so.’”

Carl Mayo lives around the corner from McCotter’s Marina.

Mayo didn’t feel the earth’s vibrations, but his son knew something was up when a TV started wobbling.

“My daughter about the same time called me from Campbell (University in Buies Creek) and said that they definitely felt it up there and they thought it was just them,” he said. “They didn’t realize it was an earthquake somewhere else.”

Like other county residents, Mayo said no damage was done at his home.

Russell Woolard is a former Washington resident who lives and works in the Washington, D.C., area.

Woolard works on the eighth floor of a 10-floor building in Tyson’s Corner in northern Virginia.

“A little after 2 o’clock, I began to feel a slight tremor, and I wasn’t sure what to make of it,” he said. “I thought something had run into the building. Then it just kept on and began to gather strength.”

Woolard looked up to see people pouring out of their offices into a stairwell.

“That’s what I did,” he said. “I just ran toward the stairs.”

He was unaware of any injuries or damage at his office complex, and he was able to return to work within 30 minutes.

“As far as I know, normal operations have resumed, but a lot of people have gone home,” Woolard said.

By late afternoon Tuesday, The Associated Press reported there had been an unknown number of minor injuries, but no reports of deaths or serious injuries in the District of Columbia caused by the quake.