Friday, March 11, 2011

Sendai Quake

Latest Japan quake and subsequent aftershock information available at the Japanese Meteorological Association. Keep pressing "Previous Information." The main 8.8 quake hit around 2:45 pm, and lasted for a grueling almost 4 minutes. Myself and the area I live in, Ebina, Kanagawa, is completely fine and safe from harm 300 miles from the worst of it, and I've been relaying what I've heard on the news. I am doing what I can to be prepared for subsequent aftershocks which do have a risk of being large though.

Thoughts and prayers to those caught in this massive earthquake and subsequent tsunami. A lot of people lost everything in this disaster. I'm thankful for my safety.

Day 2 continues here.

2:30 am - Hah, already a wikipedia on this Sendai Earthquake. It's incredibly detailed already. I love the modern digital age. I wouldn't be able to have a blog like this, call home via skype on my smart phone when the rest of the lines are down, and other stuff without it.

1:50 am - Yikes I'm tired, I think I'll head to bed soon here. I got an emergency bag of stuff ready, and will sleep near it, away from windows tonight. I've also been told to sleep with my shoes near my bed. This is pretty significant, since you *never* bring your shoes inside.

I just heard them mention on the news M6 quakes could continue for the next MONTH.

Also, the death toll is already at 1000 the dead and missing is estimated at 1000 so far. I'm sure you have or will be seeing plenty of pictures and video online, but here's a small collection of some I've found.

A shot from a video of the Tsunami itself.

These cars were washed away like marbles.

Here's that city thats burning.

This refinery exploded in a fireball.

1:20 am - There's plenty of pictures and videos out there. Here's a video of that exploding refinery @ about 1:15.

1:00 am - I hear some trains have started running again. Most of the subway and rail in Tokyo is running, not sure about JR though. The Odakyu line (where I live) supposedly started up at midnight. I've seen video of an entire residential area on fire, a tank at a refinery exploding, highways pushed over, massive sink ins, pieces of building falling, ceilings collapsed, everything under the sun. The damage reports continue to pour in too. I'm getting tired but almost scared to go to sleep. Still getting small aftershocks too.

11:30 pm - Apparently Tsunamis are continually coming, about an hour at a time. Usually they come 20-40 mins apart, but because this was so massive, they're distant and HUGE. Certain areas on the coast are being upgraded to large tsunami warnings. I'm hearing tsunamis of over 7 meters still, and it will take a day or more for them to stop. I believe I saw mention on the news of tsunamis coming about 7km inland, but I am much farther inland than that, so I should be fine.

11:20 pm - The casualties are starting to add up. Current reports are 200 dead, 400 missing.

11:00 pm - Still aftershocks. A 5.4 aftershock just hit, but only 3 or so on land. Much weaker out here but still definitely felt it. Watching the news. Shinjuku station is EMPTY. There are no trains and no people on the platform. That is an amazing sight. I am so thankful I live close to work and was able to come home without any trouble. I hope others are able to get home as well. I've put together a change of clothes and some food just in case. My apartment has been shaking once every 15 to 20 min.

10:20 pm - We've been having aftershocks all day since the earthquake. They settled down for the last few hours, but another *just* came (its 10:19 pm). I wonder how long aftershocks will last, and if another big guy is on its way... With all these aftershocks, my body is now hyper-sensitive, and it feels like its shaking if I just think about it. The idea of doubting the stability of the earth below you is very bizarre.

EDIT: Added an as-it-happened bit.

I'm home now, safe and sound, watching the news. Here's a quick play-by-play from my experience...

The earthquake started slowly, like other earthquakes we've had before. Then it got worse and worse, the lights and A/C units swayed more and more violently, getting louder and louder. Eventually myself and a coworker decided to just get out of the building. As I arrived outside, I was greeted by other people from surrounded buildings out on the street. The powerlines were shaking like crazy, so we tried to stay away from them. The entire ground was shaking too; it was an unbelievable experience. The earthquake continued for a few minutes. At first you're freaked out and the adrenaline kicks in. But when it doesn't stop for awhile you realize how completely out of control you are with the situation and just need to focus on staying safe.

After all was said and done, we returned to the building. Amazingly not a whole lot fell over. A few aluminum blocks we had stacked up, but nothing significant. In fact, just a couple weeks ago we had cabled some of our storage shelves to the ceiling preciously for an earthquake. Talk about timing. There were a few braces in the ceiling that seemed to be bent/on an angle where they met the wall, but nothing major. A few bands that strapped some wire to some beams in the ceiling completely snapped off though. Boy am I ever grateful for the massive massive support beams that our little 2 story building has though.

After work I went out to eat with some coworkers after work. I really needed to let some stress out. My body just ached from being freaked out. I experienced the Niigata earthquake 4 years ago from the 6th or 9th floor of a building in Tokyo, but that didn't hold a candle to this one, which was even further away.

Getting all my info from the news now. This is really surreal. Most all the trains are stopped, and alot of people can't go home. If you weren't aware, Tokyo has a population of 4 or 5 million at night, but 20 million or something during the day. A vast majority of them commute by train... which are all stopped. My girlfriend is stuck in her office. Poor Kana :( I hope they can start up the trains again before morning so you can get home.

The destruction from the tsunami is unbelievable. Entire parking lots and buildings were carried away like toys, some out to sea. The rivers which usually flow out to sea, were overtaken by the tsunami and began to flow inward. I actually live not too far from Sagami River, but I don't think there's any danger out here. The worst earthquake we had here was magnitude 5, and we're around the underside of Japan, shielded a bit by Chiba and the east coast of Japan. That said, there is still a large tsunami warning for the coast around my area. I'm quite a bit inland, so I should be safe. As a precaution though, I'm planning on readying a bag with some emergency supplies and food just in case.

This whole experience has been surreal. We only had a magnitude 5; I can't even fathom what a magnitude 7 was like up in Miyagi prefecture... Well, I'll update more as things unfold and any new info comes in. So far myself and my friends are safe and sound\.

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

Praying for your and Kana's safety. Gianna

3/13/2011 7:09 AM  

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