Saturday, August 27, 2011

A look back at DC Quake 2011 before turning to Hurricane Irene ...

Evacuation on the Mall
Before we turn our full attention to Hurricane Irene, here's a quick recap of some of the adventures from DC Quake 2011.
Fallen top hat
First off, I missed the whole thing. I was walking back from Starbucks at lunch time and walked back into the Natural History Museum to see a crowd of people rushing out, my first thought was that they were rushing to catch the tour bus. Squeezed past them to run into a building managment person. He's normally a quite calm fellow, but he was hustling people out. I asked him what was up and he said "It's either an earthquake a a bomb." My thought was that it was a construction related explosion the NE Quad of the building.

Headed out with the rest and security officers were getting people away from the building. Saw no smoke or anything, so headed across Constitution Ave. by the Department of Justice and then back to 9th street and over to the Mall where our emergency gathering spot was.
Minor post DC quake damage
Empty glass

Fallen books at home
No cell service, but the free Mall wi-fi was working, saw on the Twitterverse that it was an earthquake. Helos over the Mall and more people gathering (FBI, DOJ, etc. - clearly not Smithsonian staff). Hung around for about an hour, was able to complete two meetings (!).

IMG_20110824_102457After a while, we were told we could go back into the building and get our things, but the Smithsonian would be closed for the rest of the day. Headed into the building and walked up the four flights of stairs (thinking about the people who went back up the World Trade Center), got some stuff from my office (oddly the only damage was my top hat fell off the shelf). Headed with a group of staff to Poste to sit out the Metro crush. Traded stories of disasters past, and then zipped home on the slow moving Metro.

No damage at home (just a tumbled bit of bookcase and crooked pictures). Back at work, there was more damage thatn initially thought. The Smithsonian Castles was closed til August 29 while structural evaluations were done and some things were shored up. At the Museum Support Center in Maryland, there was more damage and he remained closed for a few days. At Natural History, there was some collections damage (Bats on the Floor!) and a mess in the Botany library where a number of ranges of shelves collapsed towards the windows (told later by engineering staff that they bounced off the blast proof windows! That makes me feel secure for the next disaster!).

  Slide show of DC Quake 2011:

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