inessential by Brent Simmons


An earthquake measuring 6.8 hit Seattle this morning at 10:55 a.m. The epicenter reportedly was south of the city.

A deep earthquake, perhaps 30 miles below the surface of the earth.

I've checked my house -- aside from some pictures going crooked and items moving around on their shelves, there was no damage. My house, built in 1908, has been through worse.

I was scared. I went outside before I even had the word "earthquake" appear in my head. It was like being on a boat on the water. It seemed to go on a long time. The birds yelled the whole time. They're saying it went on for 45 seconds.

Now they're warning of possible aftershocks. Aftershocks can be nearly as bad as the original quake. Update: since it's a deep earthquake, seismologists are not expecting aftershocks.

On the radio they just told me to wear shoes, just in case, so I gotta go put on my shoes...

The ferry terminals are closed. So there are people stuck out on the water.

One of the weird things was how the radio station I was listening to when the quake hit went off the air. Nothing but static. I came back inside when it was over and heard just static. So I turned on the TV, where they were already breaking in with the news. The radio station has since come back on the air.

Boeing Field is closed. Sea-Tac is shut down. Reportedly, the windows were blown out of the air traffic control tower.

There is damage to buildings in Pioneer Square. There is extensive damage to Starbuck's headquarters just south of downtown.

The radio reported that the quake was felt as far away as Salt Lake City and Vancouver Island.

Reports of injuries are trickling in.

I keep thinking I'm feeling aftershocks, but it's just adrenaline which hasn't gone away.

I already talked to family, called family back east, everyone's fine.

Now they're telling us to smell for gas. Turn it off if you smell gas. I'm checking... Nope, no gas smell.

KING 5 just called this the largest earthquake since the 7.1 that hit Olympia in 1949. There's a crack in the Capitol dome in Olympia.

Growing up back east, I always thought of earthquakes as exotic disasters that would never happen to me. I'd like to return to thinking that way, but I can't.

More reports: Sheila, David Brown, Al Hawkins, Eric Soroos, Jim Roepcke, Erik Thauvin, Howard Hansen, Glenn Fleishman.

MSNBC: "Screams erupted at a nearby hotel, where Microsoft founder Bill Gates was addressing an education and technology conference. He was whisked away as his audience bolted for the exits. Some audience members were knocked down by others trying to get out."

Update: The mail came. Nothing will stay those couriers from their appointed rounds. I love that.