A magnitude 5.8 earthquake rocked the East Coast, one of the most powerful ever recorded in that region, prompting evacuations at the Pentagon, White House and Capitol. The tremors, which were felt as far north as Rhode Island and New York City, sent people flooding into the streets. Cell phone reception failed as people tried to get in touch with friends and family to figure out what was happening. For many, it was their first time experiencing an earthquake.
"I've never felt an earthquake before," says Joao Costa, a Yahoo! News editor in New York City. "The office building shook for about 15 seconds. Jokingly, I yelled out 'quake!' and my colleagues laughed. Some got up and looked at the ceiling, after all, a week before a big chunk had fallen on Dan Gross's desk. It took about a second to realize that it really was a quake, and had nothing to do with the construction on the top floor. Then I saw the news alerts."