OMAK — A 4.6-magnitude earthquake shook awake many Okanogan County residents at 5:09 a.m. today and was felt in Leavenworth, Wenatchee and Entiat.
Officials said no one was injured, and no structural damages have been reported.
The quake’s epicenter was six miles northwest of Omak, about 7.5 miles below the surface according to reports from the U.S. Geological Survey.
Undersheriff Joe Somday said one Okanogan woman reported that her root cellar was damaged, but most people who inundated dispatchers with calls reported no damages at all.
“I’m looking around my office, and I’ve got cups on bookselves and things close to the edges. Nothing has moved or fallen,” Somday said. “It was a good shaking, though.”
There have been no aftershocks so far, and were no foreshocks, according to John Vidale, state seismologist and director of the Pacific Northwest Seismic Network.
He said the network has received about 900 reports from people who felt the quake, from as far as Spokane, Moses Lake, Monroe and Darrington.
“Every couple of decades there’s one of these out there,” Vidale said. The last one of this size in North Central Washington was on June 24, 1997, when a 4.6 magnitude quake was centered 23 kilometers west of Okanogan. The other magnitude 4 quakes included one on May 9, 1989, about 25 kilimeters southwest of Okanogan, and April 7, 1941 about 7 kilometers southwest of Okanogan, he said.
Helen Garret, who lives on the second story in an apartment building in Omak, said she woke up from a sound sleep to a very loud noise.
“It’s hard to describe. I was sound asleep. But I would say it sounded like the wind of a tornado,” she said.
Garrett said she was in Seattle during an earthquake in the 1960s, and in Los Angeles for the last big earthquake there in the 1990s, and this one
“They’re all scary, but this is the first time I’ve ever been up on the second floor. I think that’s why the building shook so hard,” she said.
Kathy Petersen said she feared most for her grandchildren, who were asleep upstairs in her Omak home.
“I thought the roof was caving it,” she said, describing the noise and shaking that lasted for about 15 seconds. She said she thought maybe a snowplow had hit the house.
She said she had to call emergency dispatchers to find out what had happened.
“My daughter ran upstairs to see if the kids were alright,” she said. “One of them slept through it and the other one was pretty scared.”
She said she’s heard reports that the quake was felt as far away as Spokane and Moses Lake.
Chris Mallon said she knew exactly what was happening when she felt the rumbling vibrate through her house up Mud Creek in Ardenvoir, where she’s lived for 35 years.
“The dog was with me, and he picked up his head, and I heard this noise,” she said. At first, she thought it was a big gust of wind, but then realized there was no wind.
“It was just a total shaking, and the windows were rattling. It felt like it was going through the house, from the south end to the north end,” she said.
Some residents of Cashmere Manor in Cashmere also reported feeling shaking.
Pat Byrd, who lives outside Okanogan, said she thought her propane tank had exploded, the noise was so loud.
Byrd is the only resident to report damages. She said her root cellar is attached to the kitchen on the side of her house, and the stone walls already had cracks in the mortar.
“Now, it’s ruined,” she said. The rock and mortar just fell off. There’s no way to repair it,” she said.
K.C. Mehaffey: 997-2512