On Monday morning, an earthquake measuring 3.8 on the Richter scale jolted the city of Buffalo and western New York, causing alarm but thankfully no significant damage. The earthquake was centered in the suburb of West Seneca and was reported by the US Geological Survey to be 2 miles below the surface. According to seismologists, it was the strongest earthquake to hit the region in at least 40 years.
The earthquake, which lasted several seconds, caused residents to first look out their windows and then turn to social media in search of answers. Erie County Executive Mark Poloncarz tweeted about the experience, saying “It felt like a car hit my house in Buffalo. I jumped out of bed.” The earthquake was felt within a 30-mile radius, including in Niagara Falls, and even slightly felt in southern Ontario, as reported by Earthquake Canada, which measured a 4.2 magnitude event.
Although earthquakes are rare in the Buffalo region, they are not uncommon in New York State. The state’s largest recorded earthquake occurred on September 5, 1944, with an epicenter near Massena, St. Lawrence County. The 5.8 magnitude earthquake was felt from Canada to Maryland and Indiana to Maine and caused $2 million in damage in Massena and Cornwall, Canada. The recent earthquake in Buffalo also caused minor tremors in the Rochester area, but again, no significant damage was reported.
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In recent years, there have been several minor earthquakes in western New York. A 1.2 magnitude temblor shook Le Roy, Genesee County, in August 2022, and a 2.6 magnitude earthquake struck near Warsaw, Wyoming County, in March 2022. A 2.4 magnitude temblor also struck the hamlet of Tuscarora in southwestern Livingston County in May 2021.
It is important to note that the Buffalo region has experienced two record-breaking weather events in recent months. In November, a snowstorm dropped as much as 7 feet of snow, and in December, a blizzard that resulted in 47 deaths. These events, coupled with the recent earthquake, have left residents feeling shaken and alarmed, but thankfully, the earthquake caused no significant damage.
The earthquake serves as a reminder of the importance of being prepared for natural disasters, especially in areas where they are not as common. It is essential to have emergency supplies on hand, such as food, water, and first aid supplies, as well as a plan in place for what to do in case of an earthquake or other natural disaster. Having earthquake insurance can also provide peace of mind, as it can cover damage to your home and personal belongings.
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In conclusion, the recent earthquake in Buffalo and western New York was a shock to the region, but thankfully caused no significant damage. Despite being rare in the area, earthquakes are not uncommon in New York State, and it is important for residents to be prepared for natural disasters. Having emergency supplies on hand, a plan in place, and earthquake insurance can provide peace of mind and ensure that residents are protected in case of an earthquake or other natural disaster.