On vacation, greeted with the unexpected

Thu, 01/09/2020 - 5:00pm

On vacation, greeted with the unexpected

By Jackie Hopkins

Ed. Note: Several Block Island residents, including Block Island Times reporter Rosemary Connelli, were vacationing in Puerto Rico when it was hit by earthquakes and aftershocks on Jan. 6 and 7. Here is one first-hand account.

Myself, Rick, Randy Stone, and Holly Herdman are staying in a beautiful home in the mountains of Rincon, Puerto Rico. 

We felt the earthquake, which was recorded at 4:24 a.m. with a 6.4 magnitude (I believe this is the right stats). We woke up to the bed shaking and the power was out. The sound was like a deep rumble that I felt in my stomach. Imagine the sound of several large BIRM trucks barreling down Airport Hill. 

My heart was racing as we made our way outside. We waited about 20 minutes before going back inside. It was a very interesting feeling, which I have never experienced before. It lasted about one minute or less. I fell back asleep around 5:30 a.m. after using my battery power to research some safety precautions and reading how others felt the effects. 

At around 7:15 we were awoken again, by the next large quake. Again we went outside until the shaking was over. It didn’t last as long as the previous one, about 20 to 30 seconds and was not as severe. It is hard to tell how long it really lasted because in moments like that time is not the first thing in your mind — your own safety is. Some official reports might have a better idea of the length of the quakes.  

For the next several hours we felt a few more shakes, called aftershocks. There was another magnitude 4+ at around 12:30 p.m. that we felt only so slightly. I found a website that has a list of all of them: https://www.volcanodiscovery.com/earthquakes/puertorico.html 

The more southern towns felt the earthquake much stronger, with some structural damage. One person, a 77 year old man, was reported dead. 

A journalist named David Begnaud landed in San Juan this morning to cover the story for CBS. The people of Puerto Rico seem to love him for his interest in their culture and wellbeing. His Twitter page had a lot of great updates today.  

We just gained power back at 10 p.m. It is 10:50 now and no issues. The power went out during the large earthquake this morning at 4:24 a.m.  

Basically, that shit was crazy and scary!

Oh, and the roosters kept on singing. There are a lot of chickens here. They didn’t seem to be affected. 

Ed. note: Our own reporter Rosemary Connelli was also in Puerto Rico, and a dying phone battery prevented her from sending in a full report, but she texted the following:

“We’re okay. It did wake me up early this morning. The room and my bed were shaking from the earthquake.” After the second quake, she texted: “I wish I could write something but I don’t have power here. Another quake hit yesterday and knocked out the power in our airbnb.” Rosemary and her sister were traveling together and planned on being back on Block Island this past Thursday or Friday.