PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) - Tremors from a 5.8 magnitude earthquake that hit Virginia Tuesday afternoon were felt throughout Rhode Island and forced several evacuations in downtown Providence.
Experts say it's the strongest quake to hit the East Coast in 67 years. The last quake of equal power to strike the East Coast was in New York in 1944.
The tremors felt on Tuesday left people across Rhode Island stunned.
"All of a sudden my chair began rocking and I thought it was me at first until all my employees beside me began mentioning that they were getting the same feeling, immediately I said 'could it be an earthquake?' That's what came across my mind. The next thing was should we just leave the building? I kept thinking if this is real, is Rhode Island really ready," Lori DiLorenzo from the Division of Taxation told Eyewitness News Reporter Sean Daly.
U.S. Geological Survey wants to hear from people who felt the quake.
- USGS: "Did You Feel It?" Page
After spending more than an hour evacuated, State House workers were given all clear to return to the building.
- Related: RI'ers stunned by earthquake
There have been no reports of damage across our area. FAA has asked T.F. Green to handle any possible diversions.
Update 3:41 p.m.:
Reports State House evacuations are over. People being allowed back into the building.
Amtrak says it expects delays through Providence as a result of the earthquake near D.C.
One person at T.F. Green said flight headed to Virginia was cancelled. However, a quick check shows flights in and out of the airport are running on schedule.
Update 3:31 p.m.
Rhode Island Emergency Management Agency announced it has opened its Emergency Operations Center on a limited basis in response to the earthquake.
"People who are concerned should rely on their personal emergency action plans and let common sense dictate their actions until we are able to fully ascertain if there was any substantial damage from this event." stated MG Kevin McBride, The Adjutant General of Rhode Island and Director of RIEMA.Tremors from a 5.8 magnitude earthquake that hit Virginia Tuesday afternoon were felt throughout Rhode Island, and forced several evacuations in downtown.
The quake, which was centered near Louisa, Va.. struck around 1:50 p.m.
- Link: Photos: Earthquake tremors cause evacuations in RI
- Link: Map of earthquake from U.S. Geological Survey
- Link: Seismograph image of quake
Shortly after, phone calls and emails began to flood the Eyewitness Newsroom from people who said they felt the tremors.
While there were no immediate reports of damage or injuries in the state, buildings in downtown Providence, including the State House, were evacuated as a precaution. State workers told Eyewitness News Reporter Sean Daly the could feel their chairs and cubicle moving.
A day care on Smith Hill was also evacuated.
State Police Col. Steven O'Donnell said anyone who felt tremors should to outside until further notice. He said building inspectors will be making the rounds at city and federal buildings to make sure they are safe before going back inside.
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