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Earthquake Hits Central Virginia

Posted: Updated: Sep 6, 2011 02:22 PM EDT
Food Lion in Louisa. Food Lion in Louisa.
Earthquake damage in Louisa. Earthquake damage in Louisa.

A 5-point-9 earthquake rocked the East Coast and the epicenter was right in our backyard, near Louisa County.  The U.S. Geological Survey reports the epicenter was about 4 miles from Louisa County.  Click here for information from the USGS

Federal officials say two nuclear reactors at the North Anna Power Station in Louisa County, Va., were automatically taken off line by safety systems around the time of the earthquake. The Dominion-operated power plant is being run off of four emergency diesel generators, which are supplying power for critical safety equipment.  Nuclear Regulatory Commission spokesman Roger Hannah says the agency was not immediately aware of any damage at nuclear power plants in the southeast. NRC officials are still assessing the situation.

The earthquake shook much of Washington, D.C., and was felt as far north as Rhode Island and New York City.  The USGS said the earthquake was 3.7 miles deep. Shaking was felt at the White House and all over the East Coast, as far south as Chapel Hill, N.C. Parts of the Pentagon, White House and Capitol were evacuated.


LOCAL UPDATES:

2:14 p.m.:  USGS puts the epicenter of the 5.9 earthquake in Louisa at 37.975°N, 77.969°W - they report the depth was 1km - we have crews out around the area.

2:45 p.m.: - National weather service says the quake does not create a threat for a tsunami off East Coast.

2:49 p.m. - Culpeper County schools will be closed tomorrow, Wednesday August 24

3:00 p.m.: Harrisonburg-Rockingham Emergency Management officials report no injuries or significant structural damage in the Harrisonburg-Rockingham area as a result of the earthquake. The information officials say is based on initial reports.

3:01 p.m. - Germanna Community College will be closed tomorrow.

3:08 p.m. - All branches of Virginia Community Bank will be closing today at 3pm

3:22 p.m. - All students are safe and accounted for at Thomas Jefferson Elementary School in Louisa. Told there is "major damage".

3:41 p.m. - Officials in Culpeper say "no known serious injuries or deaths" in the Town of Culpeper or County - tractor trailers are prohibited downtown

3:46 p.m. - Louisa County Schools will be closed tomorrow.

3:50 p.m. :  Charlottesville:  Several city streets are now closed.  West Main between 8th and Roosevelt Brown and West Main Street 10th  to Wertland because of a reported gas leak. City buses are being rerouted.

4:01 p.m.:  USGS reports: The magnitude of the earthquake that struck Virginia and much of the East Coast has been downgraded from 5.9 to 5.8 

4:05 p.m.: Louisa County doing building by building searches for the next hour to make sure no one is trapped. Landlines and phone service is still spotty.

4:12 p.m.:  USGS: Reports a 2.8 aftershock happened at 2:46 in Louisa.

4:15 p.m.:  Weyers Cave Airport is open-normal schedule-CHO has 2 planes that are 74 min late but scheduled to take off everything from 4:20 are on-time.

4:26 p.m.:  Albemarle County Spokesperson Lee Catlin says that there are no reports of damage to roads, buildings or to the dams at the reservoirs. Virginia Dominion Power says there are less than 50 outages. The Albemarle and Charlottesville 911 systems , which went down, are back up again.

4:41 p.m.: Orange County Public Information Officer Julie Jordan says, "At this time there have been reports of minor damage in the County, but there have been no reports of major structural damage or injuries in Orange County." They are continuing building assessments by the County Building Inspections staff. The Emergency Operation Center has been activated as a "precautionary" measure.

5:05 p.m.:  Culpeper:  State of Emergency has been declared in Culpeper County - 3 building have been condemned - county jail was evacuated - 80 inmates relocated.

5:13 p.m.:  Culpeper: A shelter has been set up for residents at the Salem Fire Department; operated by the Red Cross.

5:36 p.m.:  Louisa County Shelter open to the public at Moss Knuckles Elementary School off Route 208.