Earthquake centered near Milligan Ridge

Thursday, February 17, 2005
Map of where the earthquake hit.

An earthquake last Thursday morning got the attention of residents across the Buffalo Island area. It was reported the quake was felt in five states, Tennessee, Mississippi, Kentucky, Missouri and Arkansas.

According to David Lendennie, Mississippi County Office of Emergency Services coordinator, the quake was registered at least a 4.0 magnitude. It was determined the epicenter was about four miles east of Caraway and 22 miles west/southwest of Blytheville, putting it at the Milligan Ridge Community.

The quake occurred at 8:05 a.m. and was a deep quake. Lendennie said his office had received reports of minor damage in the Manila and Monette area. No injuries were reported from the quake.

Lendennie said smaller temblors are recorded all year.

"We don't really feel the quakes until the 3. range," Lendennie said. "It is not uncommon to often have 1.5 to 2.0 quakes. More are being recorded now because of more monitoring systems around."

Montene Moyer, who has been living in the Milligan Ridge area for over 51 years, said she knew exactly what it was.

"I had just put the dog in the wood room, and when I heard a loud noise I thought the wood had fallen. Before I could check on the dog, my chair started going from side to side." Moyer said. "Then I knew it was an earthquake. I was afraid the wood had fallen on the dog, but when it passed I checked and it was still in place. The quake scared the dog quite a bit and he seemed glad to see me.

"I was sitting down when the earthquake hit in the mid 1970s and I remember just how it felt. It shook us pretty good that time, too. We had several cracks in the walls from that one."

Nan Snider of Monette reported minor damage.

"I don't think we had any structural damage, but each room did have a little damage," Snider said.

The Sniders built their two-story brick home in 1997. It is located on Highway 18 near Monette.

She said she heard the noise and her first thought was a wreck.

"Living here on Highway 18 we have had several vehicles end up in our front yard after a wreck," Snider said. "So when I heard the loud sound I immediately checked to make sure a truck had not hit the house. There was no truck in the front of my house and it began to shake so I knew it was an earthquake. The first thing I did was call my daughters. One lives in Indiana and one in Memphis. I wanted to let them know I was okay."

Snider said she remembers right after the earthquake in the mid-1970s. We were in revival at the time. After the earthquake our attendance grew and we eventually built a new church."

Snider said after that earthquake everyone seemed to become more aware.

"I was never once scared," Snider said. "I look at tornadoes and earthquakes as an adventure."

Snider said she has received calls from all around, even as far as Florida.

"Several people said they hoped the earthquake did not get my outhouse," she said. "I told them to go ahead and make fun of my outhouse, but if the plumbing goes with the next earthquake, I will have facilities."

Snider is the proud owner of the outhouse that was used in the television movie of John Grisham's "The Painted House."

Helen Chipman of Manila said she knew it was an earthquake as soon as she heard the loud sound followed by the ceiling fans shaking.

"During the earthquake in the 1970s my washing machine was moved and my pictures fell off the wall," she said.

Lendennie said last week's earthquake should serve as a reminder for everyone to have a family emergency plan and emergency survival kits ready.

"There is no sense in panic," Lendennie said. "We just need to be ready. Our office is always looking at plans for the county and updating our plans to meet any emergency. Mississippi County is one of two counties involved in a pilot hazard mitigation planning project."

Mississippi County is working with FEMA in this project to have a plan in place, identifying problems up front.

When asked about survival kits for earthquakes, Lendennie suggested the kits could be stored in outside storage buildings or storm cellars. People should remember to keep medications updated in the kits as well as water, dried foods, etc.

"Hopefully, no one would be without help for longer than 72 hours, but you never know if it is a big quake," Lendennie said.

Lendennie pointed out the importance of everyone knowing how to turn off the gas and water at their homes. He also pointed out that preserving the water in the water heater can give people an extra 30 or 40 gallons of water in an emergency situation.

Lendennie has had about 100 reports from people commenting on their pets acting differently Thursday morning before the earthquake.

"I can't say 100 percent for sure that animals can sense things such as an earthquake before it hits, but it can't hurt to pay attention to things like that," Lendennie said. "I've read about accounts in 1811 or 1812 that a horse being ridden would come to a stop and refuse to move right before an earthquake shook the ground. Animals may have extra sensory perception."

As Lendennie said before, it is important to be prepared.

For information on preparing survival kits, interested persons can contact the Chickasawba Chapter of the American Red Cross, 763-4481, or the Mississippi County Office of Emergency Services, 763-5110.

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