A Year Later: Where Were You For The Earthquake?

An earthquake shook the eastern seaboard of the United States on August 23, 2011.

At first I thought someone was moving furniture or doing calisthenics upstairs.

Oh no, it was just an earthquake. Wait, an earthquake? In Bel Air?

Well, not just in Bel Air. The Aug. 23, 2011 earthquake was felt throughout the region. Needless to say, an earthquake is not a typical occurrence in our neck of the woods and the day is one I remember clearly.

I was sitting in on bail review hearings in that afternoon.

As I sat in the back row taking notes—a daliy occurence during my tenure at —I was struck by how noisy the folks on the second floor were being.

It was a split second before I realized it wasn't anyone inside the building that was making ceiling shake. In another second, a fellow regular of the hearings dashed to the door announcing what we were all slowly realizing: "It's an earthquake."

I followed his lead. It seemed wise to mirror the actions of a former California resident.

Once the ground again felt solid, Judge John Dunnigan called the event "spooky" and confirmed with correctional officers at ther that it wasn't just one building that shook.

I admit I broke the rules that day and jumped on Twitter to find the National Weather Service reporting the centered on an area near Richmond, VA. The quake was felt as far north as Canada.

Everyone has a story about where they were when the earthquake hit, and that's mine. I got to see attorneys, members of law enforcement and a judge get flustered all at once.

Now I want to hear your story. Where were you and what do you remember most about the August 23, 2011 earthquake? Tell me in the comments.

Carroll Rinehart August 23, 2012 at 08:43 PM
The earthquake happened on my 60th birthday, and my wife and I were at Freddie's celebrating. We felt the tremor and I knew right away it was an earthquake, because I remember how it felt in 1984 when Bel Air last had one that was noticeable (I thought my furnace was getting ready to explode!) For last year's earthquake, some initial reports were that it was 6.0 (turned out to be less), but my neighbor said, "If this was a 6.0 on your 60th, I don't want to be around on your 70th birthday!
Kirsten Dize August 23, 2012 at 09:34 PM
That's a fantastic story! Thank you for sharing! -KD
Tinkerbell August 24, 2012 at 10:32 AM
I was on the phone with my daughter. I thought someone was trying to open the locked, sliding glass doors--no one was there, but the rattling was now all around by this point. My daughter was saying "what's that, what's going on?" I thought she was talking "work issues" with a coworker while on the phone with me....however we then realized we were BOTH experiencing this sensation at the same time, in two different places. I was in Bel Air and she's working in Towson! Horribly freaky! I felt " off" for days. Hope to never feel that sensation again!!!
HappieGrannie August 24, 2012 at 11:13 AM
We were at home in Darlington (Out in the country) and I thought that a truck was heading toward the house it was rumbling and shaking to hard.
Brennbaby August 24, 2012 at 11:58 AM
Me, my sister in law and 2 little children were at the National Harbor walking around near the Gaylord Hotel by the water. We were casually walking taking pictures when the whole concrete path and piers swayed and bumped. My sister in law thought her vertigo was acting up (lol) and then people started flooding out of the Gaylord Hotel screaming. We tried to get on our cell phones to call out and see what was happening but there was no service for the next hour. We thought it was a terrorist attack. My kids never knew the difference, they just continued walking....lol....very scary!
Didiem August 24, 2012 at 12:09 PM
I was at the Office Depot in Bel Air near the Harford Mall area. I just happened to be right near the front door which has a glassed in entryway. I felt the rumble and the rattling, and being from New York City, I mentally likened it to the feeling of having a large delivery truck pass by on a potholed street, but it persisted so I looked up and out the front door. There was no truck, and the glass entryway was shaking, and everything was vibrating quickly back and forth. That's when it dawned on me: Earthquake!
Pat Jones August 24, 2012 at 12:33 PM
It was my 47th birthday! One I won't soon forget. I was dowtown in a training class for work in a high rise in Baltimore City. The whole building swayed. It was quite surreal. Our trainers were from California so they kept most of us from overreacting. The phones lines were down but I was able to check on my teens and my mom via Facebook. My son said he grabbed my daughter and stood in a doorway until it subsided. I was just glad everyone was okay. A birthday to remember!
Ashley August 24, 2012 at 12:51 PM
I was at work... we do pump distribution/repairs. We were standing around talking in the shop when everything started shaking. High tailed it outside, too many things weighing thousands of pounds above us to justify staying inside. Luckily nothing fell! Scared me though... an earthquake was definitely the last thing I was expecting here on the east coast.
Michele C August 24, 2012 at 01:13 PM
I was down at Curtis Bay on a jobsite. A coworker saw the swaying towers and thought it was just high winds! We were in a trailer and I thought someone was rocking it, just messing with us, but then the site's alarm went off and we had to get to our rally points. I couldn't communicate with my husband through phone calls, but we were able to text each other.
Joan Pugh August 24, 2012 at 01:43 PM
I was sitting in my screened in-porch on Rumsey Island in Joppatowne, I had grown used to rattling windows and loud booming sounds from Aberdeen/Edgewood Arsenal testing. However, on this day, the house began to sway and I was wondering where the booming sounds were. Then I thought that the testing might have been something being done underground at Edgewood. I didn't pay a lot of attention to the 15-30 second movement until my neighbors came out of their houses announcing the occurance of an earthquake. Upon inspection, I discovered that some of the bricks on the facade of my house split in half and needed to be replaced. No insurance for earthquakes.
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Barbara Melfa August 25, 2012 at 12:19 PM
My husband and I were playing golf at Rocky Point Golf course and did not feel a thing. The golf ranger came by and told us there was an earthquake and that it shook the cars in the parking area. Back in Fallston, our neighbor said that their dishes were shaking. Barbara
Cat Woods August 27, 2012 at 10:00 PM
I was standing in the pool in my back yard in Bel Air. The water started moving and shifting around, gently pushing me side to side. I looked toward the house, heard a cracking noise from the back deck and everything seemed to be shifting. I realized it was an earthquake about the time it was over. I never did figure out what the cracking sound was, but the house is still standing!
Grand Dad September 01, 2012 at 06:18 PM
I was in the Bel Air Library with my grandchildren. We were using their computers on the second floor when it happened. Everything before our eyes was shaking back and forth like it was made of cardboard. The whole building fell upon dead silence. The look on everyone's face was the same. Was this the end as we know it? I thought to myself that possibly we had been attacked and it was the side effects of a missile that had hit downtown Washington or Baltimore. Quickly dismissing those thoughts I said very softly so that my grandchildren heard me that it was an earthquake. Then I heard others saying the same thing. After everything stopped shaking, and various comments had been made by others, we went about our business like nothing had even happened. Although, on that eventful day, deep down inside, I believe we all were a little afraid of the unknown.


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