SoCal Man Describes Japan Quake, Aftershocks

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    NEWSLETTERS

    TK

    A magnitude-8.9 offshore earthquake hit Japan’s northeastern coast on Friday. The massive quake has since been followed by more than 50 aftershocks and also triggered a 23-foot tsunami.

    Michael Encinas, a Southern California native, is a registered nurse for the US Navy and is currently stationed in Atsugi, Japan, 2 hours south of Tokyo.

    Encinas describes the quake as “a rolling earthquake. It started off really small and then it progressed to a larger earthquake. Things were shaking and then it got smaller again.”

    “I’ve been through two major earthquakes and I can tell this [felt] pretty major,” he said.

    The quake seemed to last 4 to 5 minutes and was followed by “lots of aftershocks. At least once every hour,” Encinas said.  Sometimes he said he noticed up to 3 per hour.

    “Early aftershocks were pretty strong, one felt similar to the initial earthquake, but after that they would get progressively less intense,” Encinas said.

    The clinic where Encinas works was evacuated shortly after the quake and nerves were high since  “for most of us it was the biggest earthquake that we [have] experienced.”

    Friends of Encinas, who are stationed closer to the epicenter were anxious, because most are not from earthquake-prone areas.

    Encinas called his wife, who lives in San Diego, during the initial temblor, but “after that it was hard to get a hold of anyone on a cell phone [and] even some of the landlines,”  he said.

    Encinas drove around for a couple of hours after the quake and didn’t see any damage to the immediate area.

    Even though he did not notice any damage, he says that there was a lot of traffic on the roads since train service had been halted and highways and expressways were closed.

    “People were stranded out in front of the train station waiting for cabs,” he said.

    As of this morning, trains and highways in Atsugi have reopened and it seems to be business as usual.
     
    According to USGS, this is Japan’s worst earthquake since an 8.3 magnitude quake in 1923 in Kanto which killed 143,000.