At roughly 7 a.m. on Saturday, an earthquake struck near Pawnee, Okla., sending tremors that awoke several people in Jefferson County.
Sitting in her living room, Kathy Carter felt the effects of the tremors as they shook various items in her house in Steele City.
“I was sitting there this morning and the house started shaking,” said Carter. “I thought ‘well, maybe it’s a train.’ But I didn’t hear a train. Things were shaking; the lamp was shaking, the house was still shaking. It was a brief moment, but long enough to realize that was an earthquake!”
Cheyenne Bower, another Steele City resident, noted that the tremors were strong enough to knock a small gate to her pasture down.
“I was sitting here doing paperwork, and all of a sudden the house was moving back and forth,” Bower said. “I thought it was a train wreck. I stepped outside and there was no train. I went back and started checking the internet, and I looked out my window, and my donkey was standing right there. The gate came down!”
She explained that she quickly repaired the gate and returned her donkey to the pasture. In Fairbury, several people noted that they felt the earthquake, and it even knocked some products off of shelves at Ray’s Apple Market. Ron Winslow, manager of Ray’s, explained that he has not seen anything like this in Fairbury.
“It just knocked a few items off the shelf,” said Winslow. “I don’t think there was actually any damage done, because nothing got broke. I’ve never experienced anything like this here. I’ve seen pictures and video of it happening in California in grocery stores. Luckily that didn’t happen to us.”
(Footage From Ray’s Apple Market)
Emergency Manager John McKee explained that this earthquake took place roughly nine miles from Pawnee, Okla., and that it was about six miles deep. He noted that it was a 5.6 magnitude earthquake. He explained that aftershocks are likely to occur, though people in Jefferson County will probably not notice them.
“It seems like it was felt up to Omaha,” McKee said. “Looking at the map, it doesn’t look like it was felt a long way west of us. I never thought that we would feel an earthquake in Nebraska; this is the first time I have noticed one.”
He noted that while earthquakes happen from time to time, they are rarely felt. Saturday’s earthquake was different.
“I’m sure we’ve had some come up over the years,” said McKee. “Some people say they feel them, but they might have been at a time of night when nobody else was awake. Quakes can happen in this area, and they can do a little bit of damage. It’s something we don’t experience often, but when we do, it’s definitely a news story.”
He believes that, from an emergency management standpoint, this earthquake shows the need to be prepared for a variety of situations. He advises local business owners to make sure there was no damage done to their businesses.
“I think it may be good for people to check their businesses, make a quick walk through,” McKee said. “I’m not saying anything has happened, it’s just important to check. Even though it was mild here, that doesn’t mean that things can’t be damaged.”
A number of people on Fairbury News Now’s Facebook page have noted that they felt the quake in various parts of Jefferson County and Saline County, including Daykin, Diller, Plymouth, Endicott and Western.