White house shaken by earthquake: evacuation

D.C. earthquake forces White House evacuation

The State Column |  |Tuesday, August 23, 2011

A rare East Coast earthquake forced evacuations of the White House and the Pentagon on Tuesday, forcing thousands to flood the streets of downtown Washington and various cities in Virginia.

Alarms sounded in the FBI and Department of Justice buildings, and some flooding was reported on an upper floor of the Pentagon as a result of the quake.

A 5.9 magnitude quake centered in Virginia rocked the East Coast, with tremors felt as far south as North Carolina, as far north as Buffalo and Boston, and as far west as Detroit.

Airports in the Washington area, Philadelphia, New York and Andrews Air Force Base evacuated air traffic control towers and instituted a ground stop to all air traffic after the quake. Telephone and mobile networks reported outages as millions of people sought to call loved ones.

A mild shake and tremble could be felt shortly before 2 p.m. The movement lasted no more than 30 seconds in downtown Washington. Verizon Wireless and AT&T say their networks were congested as the quake sent people scrambling for the phones, the Associated Press reports.

The quake was felt in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; New York City and on Martha’s Vineyard, Massachusetts, where President Barack Obama is vacationing. Politico reports President Obama was golfing when the quake struck. It is not clear whether he felt it.

The earthquake is the second rare earthquake to his the nation Tuesday. The largest natural earthquake in Colorado in more than a century struck Monday night in the state’s southeast corner. The Colorado earthquake was a magnitude of 5.3 and centered about nine miles from the city of Trinidad, Colorado.

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