Ten years ago today, at 1:51 p.m. a 5.8 magnitude earthquake hit Virginia and the D.C. region, an unexpected jolt that sent residents and workers fleeing into the streets.
Damage from the earthquake locally was scattered and relatively minor. Loose items fell from store shelves. Some brick structures like chimneys were damaged. Walls cracked at historic Arlington House. The foundation at Arlington Fire Station No. 2 was damaged. The Thomas Jefferson Theater had to be closed for repairs. There were also reports of broken glass.
And that’s not to mention what happened across the Potomac River.
10 years ago today, the Washington Monument sustained damage when a 5.8 magnitude earthquake shook the #WashingtonDC area. It took 3 years to repair joints, patch stones & fix 665 linear feet of cracks, funded in part by David Rubenstein.
Pic courtesy of Colin Winterbottom. pic.twitter.com/nsL7tkXizq
— National Mall NPS (@NationalMallNPS) August 23, 2021
Ten years after an earthquake rattled D.C. repairs are still underway at the National Cathedral. And they may take another 10. https://t.co/EXrrkF8p7T
— WTOP (@WTOP) August 20, 2021
In the immediate aftermath of the quake, cell phone service was overloaded by people calling loved ones. Numerous gas leaks were reported and hundreds of Dominion customers in Arlington lost power. Office buildings closed for damage assessments, and highways were jammed with workers heading home early. In Courthouse, court employees, police and other county workers gathered in the middle of the street.
ARLnow’s initial article on the quake published two minutes after it started, but due to a crush of web traffic our server crashed and remained only periodically reachable for at least an hour.
“I remember sitting in my office, in my then-apartment along Columbia Pike, and feeling the shaking. My initial thought was that the somewhat creaky building was giving way,” recalls ARLnow editor Scott Brodbeck. “When I realized it was an earthquake, and saw our Twitter mentions blow up with people wondering what was happening, I worked to get something up on the site as soon as possible. It took about three minutes after that for our server to start crashing.”
BREAKING NEWS — Earthquake strikes DC area http://t.co/DYKPBJ6
— Arlington Now (@ARLnowDOTcom) August 23, 2011
Below is an excerpt from ARLnow’s coverage on Aug. 23, 2011.
“Be advised, we just suffered an earthquake,” Arlington County 911 dispatch said over police and fire radio channels, just after the quake hit at 1:51 p.m. So far, no major damage or significant injuries have been reported in Arlington.
Multiple reports of building evacuations throughout the Rosslyn-Ballston corridor led police to caution about pedestrians in the roadway. Vornado has made the decision to close all its building in Arlington, including the county’s office building at 2100 Clarendon Boulevard, according to Arlington County spokeswoman Mary Curtius. The building is staying open for election workers.
Numerous gas leaks are being reported. More than 250 Dominion customers in Arlington are without power as of 5:00 p.m.
The Arlington Emergency Operations Center has been activated, Curtius said. Traffic is heavy on I-66 and I-395 in Arlington as workers head home for the day.
The county’s 911 center was “flooded with calls” after the earthquake, Curtius said. Most of the calls were anxiety related, and no injuries directly related to the earthquake have been reported. Additional emergency personnel were called in and 911 calls are dying down now, Curtius added.
There are reports of minor damage to parts of old buildings, like brick chimneys, according to Arlington County Police spokeswoman Det. Crystal Nosal. She said the Arlington County courthouse and police department were evacuated while the Fire Marshal checked out gas lines to the building. During the evacuation, many emergency personnel were standing outside the police station on 14th Street with radios in hand.
Firefighters are checking for damage to overpasses. All flights out of Reagan National Airport were suspended while runways are checked for damage, officials said. Flights are now operating, but with delays. As of 2:45 p.m., Terminal A of Reagan National was being evacuated due to an odor of gas. Terminal B and C are still open.
The Pentagon was also evacuated after the quake, according to news reports. NBC News is reporting that several water pipes burst in the building, flooding the floor below.
Arlington Public Library says that books fell off shelves, and multiple residents have told us about small items falling on the ground during the temblor.
According to county election officials, today’s voting will continue as normal, with polls closing at 7:00 p.m. All voting centers are open, but voting has been moved outside at the George Mason University center.
Cell phone service was jammed shortly after the quake as residents called loved ones. Service is back up but spotty, according to various accounts on Twitter.
Below some videos that were taken in Arlington during and after the earthquake.
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9th Street Chamber Music is back in business for its second season! 9SCM is disrupting the stereotypes of classical music as stuffy, dry, and elite through dynamic yet accessible performances and its one-of-a-kind String Quartet Intensive for young musicians in the DC Metro area.[9th Street Quartet](https://www.9thstreetchambermusic.com/9th-street- quartet)’s first concert is on Sunday, October 16 at 4:00 PM. The group will offer, for the first time, a ‘Playlist Shuffle’ themed concert featuring single movements of string quartet favorites. Tickets for this concert can be found here, and are $20 for adults and FREE for all students under 18.
Rehearsals began Monday, September 27 for the String Quartet Intensive, welcoming 32 new and returning members to the program. These talented musicians in grades 7 through 12 represent over fifteen area schools throughout Northern Virginia, DC and Maryland, and are an integral part of the growing 9SCM community. Their first performance will take place on Monday, November 28 at 7:30 PM.
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Join us as we explore Vini Franchetti & their two sister vineyards Passopisciaro (Sicily) and Vini Franchetti (Tuscany) for our Sicily/Tuscany Wine Dinner!
Sunday, Oct 9 @ 6pm
Special Guest: This wine dinner we will be hosting the wine maker