A 3.2 magnitude earthquake caught many Central Virginia residents by surprise last night. Around 9:47 p.m., a jolt occurred about 30 miles west of Richmond in Powhatan County.
The USGS “feel it” map
Experts say last night’s quake was probably not related to the more powerful 5.8 magnitude earthquake in August 2011. That jolt was felt from Maine to Florida along a different seismic zone.
Over 1,500 people along the tri-state area said they felt last night’s shaking, but no damage reports were noted. The United States Geological Survey writes magnitude 3.0 scale earthquakes produce “weak” shaking activity.
Quake epicenter was just west of Richmond, Va.
The largest earthquake reported in the Commonwealth occurred in Giles County on May 31, 1897. Records indicate springs changed flowed and chimneys were toppled in this 5.9 shake. Similar (~3.0-4.0 magnitude) quakes occurred on last night’s fault line back in 2003, just months apart.
Numerous localities in the Metro Richmond area — including the city and outlying areas such as Williamsburg – were under tornado warnings for a large portion of the afternoon. Trained spotters reported funnel clouds sprawling from some of the storms. A portion of Interstate 95 was closed due to more than three feet of standing water after flash flooding in the area.
Road closure map due to weather for the Richmond area
A possible tornado was also reported near Dover, Del. today.