Earthquake in San Francisco

Earthquake, San Francisco - one of the joys of living in California (photo: NBC News)

Earthquake in San Francisco
Earthquake, San Francisco – one of the joys of living in California (photo: NBC News)

KFBK Coverage of San Francisco Earthquake – October 17, 1989 – KFBK Radio –

Unless you’ve experienced one, describing an Earthquake and living through it are two different things. And no amount of description can quite match the sensation of losing all balance, being surrounded by the sound of glass shattering and the blinding flash of transformers exploding on power poles all around your neighborhood.

Today marks the 33rd anniversary of the day a “pretty big one” hit the Bay Area.
Probably a more famous shaker than many, since it happened right during the opening moments of the 3rd game of the World Series, it was the object of panic by many in the Press Booth at Candlestick Park.

Every time the earth moves, it stands a chance a being “the big one”, especially when the shaking intensifies. And this one, at a little over 15 seconds, seemed like an eternity to many who were in the stands, not to mention those in other parts of the city, or driving on the freeway, or taking that fateful trip over the Bay Bridge.

After the initial jolt, the city scrambled to get word on casualties, send rescue teams out, check hospitals for injured. Fires were breaking out and damage was heaviest in the Marina District where liquefaction caused many buildings to buckle and sink. There seemed no segment or corner of San Francisco that was immune to damage. But reports of damage came from across the Bay, into Berkeley, Oakland, Daly City. Reports it was felt as far south as Encino.

At first, Seismologists put the size at around 6 on the Richter scale; a good sized quake, but still not “the big one”. And almost as soon as the preliminary readings were given, upgrades were added. And by the end of the day the Earthquake had a magnitude of 6.9, although reports initially had it as high as 7.1.

After damage reports came casualty reports. Some 63 died and almost 4,000 were injured. And the aftershocks went on for weeks after.

Here, by way of Radio station KFBK in Sacramento are the first 2 hours of the disaster as it was unfolding, thirty -three years ago today.

So let’s see – Tornados, Hurricanes or Earthquakes . . . . .I guess it’s a toss-up. But at least you can see the first two coming.

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