The FDNY and the US Geological Survey has confirmed a 5.9 magnitude earthquake in central Virginia. Residents of Manhattan and Brooklyn have reported feeling the earthquake as well. Gothamist HQ was rocking like a hurricane just minutes ago. Updates to follow.
[UPDATE / 2:25 p.m.]Reuters is reporting that the epicenter of the earthquake was in Mineral, Virginia. The AP reports that it is the largest earthquake to hit the nation's capital. Both the Pentagon and the Capitol building in Washington are being evacuated, as are numerous offices in Manhattan. MTA service remains unaffected.
In Brooklyn, IKEA is being evacuated, and in typical fashion, one man opines on Twitter that he's "not all that impressed." Colorado experienced its "largest natural earthquake" with a 5.3 magnitude just last night.
[UPDATE / 2:31 p.m.] Readers from South Carolina to Rhode Island are emailing us saying they felt the quake. In Queens, one tipster writes: "I'm in Queens right across the water from Citi Field and Laguardia Airport and we felt it in our office building. Us and a few other businesses in the industrial park all evacuated and stayed outside for about 15 minutes before returning."
We've also received reports that Goldman Sachs's building in lower Manhattan has been evacuated. Cell phone service continues to be nonexistent at Gothamist HQ.
[UPDATE / 2:36 p.m.] Per the DOT, all New York City bridges, runways, and tunnels appear to be intact.
[UPDATE / 2:41 p.m.] A spokesman for the FDNY tells us, "We have elevated call volume. People are of course calling 911 after feeling shaking in their buildings, but we're not aware of any major collapse or incident at this time." Per the Port Authority, Newark and JFK Airports have been temporarily shut down, but La Guardia appears to still be open.
[UPDATE / 2:55 p.m.] Our reporter in Brooklyn is speaking with some shaken-up witnesses. 28-year-old Queens resident Shonn Hawkins, who was working in a factory in Brooklyn, said “I was sawing at the table and I felt a quiet shake. I asked my coworkers around if they felt anything and they said no and thought I was playing or something...then the building was evacuated.”
Katherine Raffa, a student in Fort Greene, noted, “I was sitting in my basement and you could feel the ground move left to right and right to left from underneath. It was a strong silent force.”
Handicap program specialist Thomas Pinkerton was at his home in Bushwick: “I was sitting on my bed and I felt the motion and I didn’t know what was going on. I didn’t even think it was an earthquake, I came outside and found out.”
[UPDATE / 3:10 p.m.] The earthquake, which is now officially measured at 5.9, has not disrupted any MTA service. Yet.
[UPDATE / 3:49 p.m.] Mayor Bloomberg has released the following statement
Like people up and down the East Coast, New Yorkers across the five boroughs felt the effect of this afternoon’s earthquake in Virginia. I’ve spoken with our Police and Fire Commissioners, and we’ve activated the Office of Emergency Management’s Situation Room and spoken to other city agencies, including the Department of Buildings. Thankfully, there are no reports of significant damage or injuries in New York City at this time. As ever, we urge New Yorkers to call 911 only in cases of actual emergencies."
Shortly before 2:00 PM, we evacuated City Hall briefly, but quickly returned to work. As we await more news from Virginia and elsewhere, our thoughts in New York are with those who were more directly affected by this natural disaster.
[UPDATE / 4:07 p.m.] The USGS is reporting that Virginia experienced a 2.8 magnitude aftershock at 2:46 p.m. A rep from the agency tells the Washington Post, “Aftershocks could go on for days, weeks, or even months. They’re most likely to be felt under the next three or four days.”
Metro North and LIRR continue to operate unabated, whereas Amtrak is operating at "reduced speed" between D.C. and Baltimore.
[UPDATE / 4:55 p.m.] Our reporter in Manhattan spoke to Kelly Ardoin, who works at 155 Sixth Avenue, about her experience during the quake. "We were just sitting at our desk and I felt my desk shake and I thought it was like, my heart or something, and then two seconds later it shook considerably. They didn't pull the alarm or anything, but our boss was in the conference room and he stood up and said 'let's go,
let's get out of here.' By the time we got to the fire stairs, the security or nobody ever said a word about getting out of the building."
Additional reporting by Bethany O'Grady and Rachel Pincus