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Sat Oct 17, 2015, 04:59 PM

26 years ago today!! 1989 Loma Prieta Earthquake



This October marks the 26th anniversary of the 1989 Loma Prieta earthquake that shook the Bay Area during the late-afternoon on Oct. 17. With a 6.9 magnitude, its force was devastating. Review our photos of the aftermath, and leave your memories of those terrible moments.

http://www.sfgate.com/bayarea/article/1989-Loma-Prieta-Earthquake-2459219.php#photo-2020865

I was two years old then...and yeah, I sorta remember it happening.

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Reply 26 years ago today!! 1989 Loma Prieta Earthquake (Original post)
yuiyoshida Oct 2015 OP
livetohike Oct 2015 #1
Arugula Latte Oct 2015 #6
livetohike Oct 2015 #15
Arugula Latte Oct 2015 #16
livetohike Oct 2015 #17
truedelphi Oct 2015 #7
livetohike Oct 2015 #13
Brother Buzz Oct 2015 #2
Warren DeMontague Oct 2015 #3
cascadiance Oct 2015 #4
Arugula Latte Oct 2015 #5
MBS Oct 2015 #8
panader0 Oct 2015 #9
hunter Oct 2015 #10
marlakay Oct 2015 #11
alittlelark Oct 2015 #12
dreamnightwind Oct 2015 #14

Response to yuiyoshida (Original post)

Sat Oct 17, 2015, 05:12 PM

1. I just arrived home from work and was sitting in the car in the driveway

listening to the ball game. I felt the quake as the car shook and then heard the announcers talking about it. I lived 350 miles away in the suburbs of L.A.!

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Response to livetohike (Reply #1)

Sat Oct 17, 2015, 05:35 PM

6. Whoa, that's crazy. I didn't realize you guys felt it down there.

 

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Response to Arugula Latte (Reply #6)

Sat Oct 17, 2015, 07:08 PM

15. At first I thought we might be having our own quake! It felt that strong.

It's frightening to think what a bigger quake might do

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Response to livetohike (Reply #15)

Sat Oct 17, 2015, 07:11 PM

16. Yes! Very scary. ... I live in the Northwest now, and while we don't get the frequent

 

quakes like I remember from California, "they" say when the Big One hits here (Pacific Subduction zone, 8 or 9 on the Richter), it's going to basically wipe this region out for months and years. ...

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Response to Arugula Latte (Reply #16)

Sat Oct 17, 2015, 07:14 PM

17. I'm back home in Pennsylvania where the frackers are doing their best to create quakes.

We know the Big One is coming one day out there 😞.

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Response to livetohike (Reply #1)

Sat Oct 17, 2015, 05:35 PM

7. Really? All the way down in L.A.?

In the SF Bay area, we were told that parts of L.A. shook, but I never really believed it til you posted this experience.

I do remember that the thought that it stretched out that far south was very scary.

And never before, and probably never since, had any baseball game saved so many lives.

People in the Bay area were already at the field, or else had gone home early to listen to the game between the Giants and the Oakland A's. The freeways were much less crowded than usual.

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Response to truedelphi (Reply #7)

Sat Oct 17, 2015, 07:03 PM

13. It was frightening because I remember thinking that if it had hit

San Francisco and we felt it, it had to be a big one! Then it was of course horrible watching the news unfold.

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Response to yuiyoshida (Original post)

Sat Oct 17, 2015, 05:21 PM

2. I was just sitting down with a fine chilled bottle of Chardonnay...waiting for the opening pitch

then it struck. Wait, wait, I actually saw something weird happening at Candlestick a few seconds before it struck Kenwood, California.

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Response to yuiyoshida (Original post)

Sat Oct 17, 2015, 05:24 PM

3. I was in Southern California, drinking a beer, eating a burger and sort of not-paying attn

To the ball game.

My on-again off-again ex girlfriend at the time was in the east bay, so i spent the rest of the day trying to get a hold of her.

Lotta people i know have crazier stories of that day.

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Response to yuiyoshida (Original post)

Sat Oct 17, 2015, 05:33 PM

4. I have a lot of memories from being in that earthquake in the south bay then...

 

The power went out for a long time. Just to get money, had to dig up an old loose change collection that I hadn't taken to the bank and take quarter rolls, etc. to buy stuff then without access to cash or credit card transactions while the power was out.

Was at work and saw tons of computers all fall over and on to the floor. A whole row of book cases jutting out from a long cubicle wall collapsed on to each other. If someone had been at the end of that line of bookcases, I have no doubt they would have been killed. I held a coworker back in a hall doorway to keep him from running outside where stuff was possibly going to fall too.

What seemed ironic was the moment when the power finally came on and I could get access to cable television, the show that just came up on the television set which just happened to be tuned to a movie channel like HBO was "The Lost Boys", which was located in Santa Cruz where the earthquake was centered in, and many of the sites filmed for that movie were destroyed in this earthquake. Also, the lair for the vampires in that film was actually an old hotel destroyed along the coastline in the 1906 earthquake, and probably had some subsequent earth movement free them to wreak havoc in the film. Kinda spooky to see that come up at that moment.

Found out later my sister was working in a skyscraper in L.A. and felt it there, and an officemate was on the phone with a family member when the phone connection died and apparently she was one of the victims in the cars that got destroyed with the falling bridges in Oakland.

Later on the television news that night in that area, I saw a customer of mine who just had the first recognized baby born during the earthquake as a featured story on the local news.

I hope when the big one that is mentioned as due up here in the Northwest in the Puget Sound area isn't horrible as it might be, since I don't think many people and infrastructure up here is as ready for that as they were down in California for that and other earthquakes.

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Response to yuiyoshida (Original post)

Sat Oct 17, 2015, 05:34 PM

5. I was driving in the East Bay. I went up into the Berkeley Hills and saw flames

 

shooting into the sky in about six locations all over the Bay Area.

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Response to yuiyoshida (Original post)

Sat Oct 17, 2015, 05:38 PM

8. I was near the epicenter

and every detail is emblazoned in my memory.

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Response to yuiyoshida (Original post)

Sat Oct 17, 2015, 05:50 PM

9. Wow! You are young. (I was 39 at the time)

I remember well. I was in my car driving to Tucson listening to the game, SF and Oakland.
I am a huge Giants fan. (born there). Then came the news of the quake. Amazing.
A friend was at the game (Candlestick Park). He said everyone ran onto the field....
What a nasty quake.

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Response to yuiyoshida (Original post)

Sat Oct 17, 2015, 05:56 PM

10. My wife and I were out of the state at the time.

Her brother and sister were both living and working in the Bay Area, and frequent travelers across the Bay Bridge and Cypress Street Viaduct.



We didn't get word they were safe until much later that night.

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Response to yuiyoshida (Original post)

Sat Oct 17, 2015, 06:07 PM

11. Driving home from work in Santa Rosa

Didnt feel it because of car but my radio went out and when it came back on, emergency broadcast and i raced home to kids about 100 mph. Hanging plant was swinging and all my daughters china figurines fell down and broke.

We lost electricity for 4 days and watched news on neighbors 3 inch battery tv radio. His mom crossed bridge that time of day for coomute and he didnt hear from her for 2 hrs so tense.

Only few had cells then.

I guess i should add my husband who I wasnt with at the time, was driving Bart and the rails started swerving trees shaking and light poles banging. He hit stop and they had to sit for many hours in train until they were allowed to move to get out.

Afterward he was picked to go at 2 mph to check tracks, said he saw a sight not many people will ever see pure black and only stars all night in SF and whole area.

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Response to yuiyoshida (Original post)

Sat Oct 17, 2015, 06:43 PM

12. I was getting ready to go to work.....

My cat, Tara, suddenly jumped off the couch and through the cat door - was on phone w/ sister and laughing about it.... 15 or so seconds later the first thing I noticed was the CD drawers flew open - the CD's were flying out like cards. The 50 gallon aquarium tipped up about 2 inches and when it hit back down the top came off w/about 6 gallons of water and some fish. I had fallen to my kness and everything was shaking and/or falling. The phone conn. w/sis was still OK - she and a friend were watching the world series and the camera had gone sideways and blacked out.

I got the fish back in the tank and went outside to look for Tara. We were living in an apartment complex in Mountain View (turns out Mountain View was built on top of "fill' which is why it shook like jello.... There was an E Indian couple that lived across from us w/ one of their mothers. I had almost never seen the mother - but she came out of the apt w a pipe and a grin - it was quite surreal.... She saw me staring at her and offered me her pipe - I took a hit, still not sure what it was... she said something in a language I did not understand and walked off laughing and smoking her pipe.

After that it was a chaotic few weeks....

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Response to yuiyoshida (Original post)

Sat Oct 17, 2015, 07:08 PM

14. I was in Santa Cruz near the epicenter

It was my then-girlfriend's 40th bday (she was quite a bit older than I was) and I was driving from work to meet her and her family to celebrate at her house, and watch the World Series together. Everything changed in that moment. I pulled my VW van to the side of the road thinking it was just falling apart (not out of the question, LOL), the street lamp posts were literally making a howling sound from the violent shaking, a chimney collapsed and flattened a pickup truck right in front of me, unreal. Seemed like it lasted forever but it was probably less than a minute (don't remember the exact duration). When I got to her house her poor Mom was in the kitchen trying to deal with it all, a huge pot of spaghetti sauce had been tossed all over the kitchen and gave everything a faux bloody vibe, anything that wasn't bolted down was tossed all over the place, not good but others had it worse and lost their homes completely and a few lost their lives.

Santa Cruz's downtown was in shambles for years (businesses moved their stores into giant tents), we had no power for days, no phones, no communications but word of mouth and whatever we could get from AM radio. Many of the local bridges were damaged so travel to get anywhere was pretty much impossible. I mostly rode my bike for awhile because of that.

Some people slept outside on their lawns for a few nights as the aftershocks just kept coming, one after another, and we didn't know if the really big one was still on the way. I lived in a small geodesic dome (I used to get some of Steve Wozniak's mail there, apparently he had lived in that little house before I did, odd, it was really tiny but secluded so maybe he liked that) where I slept in the loft. The aftershocks were somehow so loud (I still don't understand this) that I could be asleep, hear one coming, scramble down the loft ladder and be just about out the front door by the time one hit.

I hope I never experience anything like that again. Before that, I always laughed at earthquakes, they were kind of fun and mostly harmless in my experience. To no longer trust the earth beneath your feet is an odd feeling, one that persisted for quite awhile.

edit to add: happy b-day to my ex, if she is reading this, she was a good Democrat so who knows.

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