Following the 7.0 earthquake in Anchorage November 30, and the 1,800 aftershocks in the following days, our members in Anchorage, Homer and Valdez shared their experiences.
With 166 members living in Alaska, 142 in Anchorage and the others everywhere from Eagle River and Wasilla to Homer and Juneau, here are some of the stories.
Robin Child perhaps captured best what so many of you shared when she emailed: “The best thing was hearing from family, friends and neighbors. Everyone checking to make sure all was okay and offers of help. Even the Costco pharmacy gal asked how we had fared; it’s a bond of a community. Strangers finding a commonality and helping each other by being a bit more friendly. We are at our best when we all give a little, even if it’s just a smile and a shared story,” said Robin.
"My panic," said Kathleen Gray, "is that I was here in the 1964 earthquake (age 11) so my flashback meter is over the top. The continuing aftershocks just keep me on edge, but 'I will survive'," she said.
My panic is that I was here in the 1964 earthquake so my flashback meter is over the top
"Broken trinkets are sad," emailed Delia Brown, "but to not have any loss of life is nothing short of a miracle." The best invention says Delia is "the flashlight on our cell phones and cell chargers!"
To not have any loss of life is nothing short of a miracle
In addition to comments about the community coming together and gratefulness there was no loss of life, there has been a lot of humor. Whether talking about ‘drinks being served’ or ‘rockin and rollin’, the quake was met with equanimity.
“I was driving, so it wasn’t super exciting,” shared Susan Jakonis. “My car shook like crazy & I pulled over. The aftershocks were horrible for the first few days. I wonder how many people outside of Alaska know it was pitch dark when it happened and for over an hour?”
As of December 9 the city was still having aftershocks. Scott Digert said they had 5 Sunday morning, December 9, and poor Rosie their Retriever has been a bit traumatized. Tina and Gerry Suellentrop and Scott and Barbara Digert commented on how sound structural construction meant good news for many.
“After a total of almost 24 years in Alaska and 4 years in LA, this was certainly the biggest quake we’ve been in,” said Scott. “At BP we had a lot of equipment knocked over, ceiling tiles and lights down, and some minor structural damage with wall cracks and broken pipes, but the building stayed well within design specs. We got everyone evacuated ok and then closed the building for the past week to allow the crews to do repairs without people underfoot, and also to let parents work from home while their kids were out with all the schools also closed. Most of us go back to school and work on Monday, and people will have lots of stories to tell! Our home came through just fine; we had books knocked off shelves and plants toppled over, but remarkably little breakage. All of the Anchorage building codes and inspections that made our builder swear when we built the house in 2000 worked as needed, and we feel very fortunate.”
Scott also said there was a lot of infrastructure damage in the Anchorage bowl. “Road crews swung straight into action and had temporary paved repairs in place within 72 hours, which is particularly remarkable given that all the asphalt plants had been shut down for the winter, and they’ve never laid asphalt this late in the year,” he said. “If we’re going to be in a big quake there’s no community better prepared for it than Anchorage,” believes Scott.
If we're going to be in a big quake there's no community better prepared for it than Anchorage
Adriana Contreras seconded Delia Brown, saying “everyone alive and well and very happy. More importantly than broken knick knacks -- THANK YOU for simply checking in,” she said.
Micky Becker shares that she climbed under the kitchen counter and rode it out. She said it was terrifying, and seemed to last forever. Micky also mentioned that strict earthquake building codes saved Anchorage and prevented loss of life.
Robin Childs said she thought they had faired extremely well until she investigated the top floor. “It was shocking at first but a few days later, with the help of my children, we had everything back in order. My children helped to put all of our bathroom and dresser mirrors up with new stronger anchors. We also added a top hold on tall dressers. It was a good reminder along with an opportunity to clean out old clothes from the back of the drawers,” she concluded.
Rob Endebrok returned from Thailand to find minor things knocked off the shelves and a couple doors needing adjusting.
Denis Allen lives in Valdez and said when the earthquake first started it was swaying which intensified gradually. Bottles and glasses started moving, the weights in a wall clock started banging the glass sides of the clock case.
Jack and Cindy Walker reported there were no gas leaks, no water leaks, no power loss, no broken windows, and no apparent structural damage in Stuckagain - they felt pretty lucky. In addition to broken items and minor cracks in dry wall, the well water had a brownish tint, but cleared up after a day or two. They also said there was no road damage in their area. Best of all? “Less than one full dump run!”
Chip Landmesser says "we were rockin' and rollin' pretty good down here in Homer too. We are all doing fine and no significant property damage." Chip said his family living in Eagle River faces cleanup and repairs in the weeks ahead, but what is important is everyone is ok.
We were rockin and rollin pretty good down here in Homer too
Dave Marquez moved from Anchorage to Juneau a couple of years ago, and has a daughter and her family and many friends in Anchorage. He also felt blessed there were no fatalities with an earthquake of this magnitude.
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