|A little early morning excitement around here. The center was about 10 miles from our house. It woke up the family--and me, but I didn't know what had awakened me. Jeremiah says he heard it, says it sounded like a giant semi rumbling past the house. Amazing.|
Posted: Friday, Nov. 18, 2011 - 10:43 a.m. PST
Early morning earthquake jolts the Okanogan Valley
By Dee Camp
OMAK – A 4.6 magnitude earthquake jolted Okanogan Valley residents awake at 5:09 a.m. Friday, Nov. 18.
The temblor was centered six miles northwest of Omak and five miles west-southwest of Riverside at a depth of 7.4 miles, according to the U.S. Geological Survey.
It hit suddenly, with several people reporting a booming, rattling noise similar to a train or a snowplow. The quake tapered off, lasting 10-15 seconds.
“There was a bang and it shook,” Conconully Mayor Sam Martin said.
He said he’s not aware of any damage, though there are some cracks in the masonry walls of the town fire station. Officials are trying to determine if they’re new cracks or existing ones.
The dam holding Conconully Reservoir seems to be fine, he said.
Pat Byrd, who lives near Green Lake west of town, said she was just waking up when the quake hit.
“I thought a propane tank blew up,” she said. “The house jerked several times. Then I thought maybe Mount St. Helens blew up again. It took me a bit to figure it out.”
The house, built in 1860, “is so old, I’m surprised it didn’t fold up like an accordion,” she said.
She said the impact caved in two walls of her root cellar. Her home is about two miles from the quake’s epicenter.
The area is underneath a second-floor bathroom and bedroom, “so it’s kind of an important part of the house,” she said.
Okanogan County Undersheriff Joe Somday said no structural damage has been reported in the county, other than Byrd’s root cellar, though the dispatch office was inundated with phone calls right after the quake.
Bridges were checked. The sheriff’s office monitors Enloe Dam on the Similkameen River, but there was “nothing of concern,” Somday said.
The earthquake “gave people something to talk about,” he said.
Lynne Brougher, spokeswoman for the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation at Grand Coulee Dam, said there’s no evidence of anything to be concerned about at the dam. Instrumentation was monitored and a visual inspection is being done.
“Nothing has caused any concern,” she said.
Jean Berney, Conconully, said her son Raymond’s bed is on wheels and moved around a bit.
“It sure did wake us up,” she said.
As far as she knows, there was no damage at her ranch, though there was “a bunch of rattling.”
Twisp resident Carol Sorg said she thought at first a snowplow was going by, but then her house began moving. There was no damage.
The quake was the second this week in the area. A 2.5 magnitude earthquake struck at 6:56 a.m. Wednesday, Nov. 16, just west of the Friday quake, the U.S. Geological Survey said.
Wednesday’s quake was eight miles west-southwest of Conconully and 13 miles east-northeast of Winthrop.