The Earthquake: Stories from Oakton
5.9 magnitude quake hits Virginia
As two voters approached poll workers at the Oak Marr Recreation Center precinct, the building began to shake.
A rec center employee ran into the fitness room to tell exercisers to stand away from the equipment.
By the time people began to move to doorways or outside, the shaking stopped.
"Was that an earthquake?" someone in the lobby called out, as many murmured similar questions to others around them.
"I don't know. I can't call anyone to find out," another answered.
After a few moments of confused looks and shrugs around the room, the two voters approached the polls once again to cast their ballots in the primary for the Republican nomination for sheriff.
At about 2:10 p.m., headmaster John Thomas announced to the crowd on the front lawn of Flint Hill's Upper School they would be allowed to re-enter the school.
"I'm proud of how quickly and calmly everyone reacted and evacuated. But next time, we should probably stand a little farther away from the building," he said to his chuckling audience.
Becky Sinclair said part of what made today's quake so scary is how unaccustomed she and her fellow poll workers at the Oakton High precinct are to dealing with one.
"It came from nowhere, and it was just all so strange," she said. "This will definitely be one of those events that I remember exactly where I was and what I was doing when it hit."
After a few moments of confusion when the shaking began, Sinclair and two of her fellow poll workers — a fourth volunteer was in the ladies' room — evacuated the building along with everyone else at the school.
Oakton High, along with the rest of FCPS, has canceled all activities today. Though poll workers said someone from the school told them a crack had been spotted in the roof, a spokesperson for FCPS could not yet cite damage at specific schools.
"We are receiving damage reports from a number of schools. Those schools will be preliminarily inspected today," Mary Shaw, spokesperson for FCPS, wrote in an email. "If this assessment determines that more extensive structural damage assessment is needed, those buildings will be closed until that is completed."
Residents said they are ready to address the minor damage around their homes or businesses and then move on.
Oakton Wine Shop employees are focused on tonight's tasting of New Belgium brews, an impromptu decision even before the earthquake that had employees running around trying to catch wine bottles from falling and shattering on the floor.
"After that little earth shaking we need 5:30 to come right now!" the shop posted on its Facebook page.