Exciting earthquake just now in the SF south bay area. I have no idea what the rating was: it went on for a very long time as earthquakes go. Fascinating. Updates to this post as I get them.

I was here during the 1989 quake that did so much damage. This one was not in the running; I'd call it a 5 at most. But it's the biggest I've felt since the 89 aftershocks, so I am damn awake right now, let me tell you.

USGS report says 5.6. Interesting! My first guess to Mr P was a 6, then I revised down. Heh.
Oh man! I'm glad it wasn't bad, but that had to be scary!

One of the reasons I'll probably never visit CA is my absolute horror at the very idea of earthquakes.
I feel the same way about hurricanes. The thing about earthquakes is that one can prepare for them. The really huganic ones are disasters, but the smaller ones (8 and down) can be mitigated entirely by preparing your home to cope. Try that with a tornado, I say.
I feel about earthquakes the way you feel about hurricanes. The way I look at it is, at least with a hurricane you have several days' notice to board up your windows, de-projectile your yard, and stock up on food and water. :p Tornados terrify me. We had a tornado watch the other day, with the bad storms, and we lost power at my house for a few hours in the going-to-bed timezone; I literally couldn't sleep because I was lying in bed listening to the wind and wondering if that was a tornado I heard, or an actual train on the tracks down by the highway. :(
I'm totally with you on tornados. They're so destructive, and there's so little you can do. Other than build bunkers and live in them, which isn't fun. And even then you might lose the top of your bunker.

If you were out here, you'd feel better about quakes after a while. Most of them are small things, great conversation-starters. They're what we have instead of thunderstorms. Only come to think of it, we have more thunderstorms than quakes.
yeah, I'm worried about our cats. They're home alone and very freaked, I'm sure.

I'll call the catsitter tomorrow and make sure she gets over there ASAP. Not that they'll actually interact with her, but at least it will assume them that all the humans didn't die off, leaving the cats without servants to provide their food and water.
Bishie is still freaked. Mina is purring against my neck at this very moment, which is normal behavior. The dogs went back to sleep after we didn't seem very upset.
Hey, I missed it, being in New York this week.

USGS says 5.6 and a few miles from Alum Rock in San Jose. Well, they were saying in the paper just recently that the Hayward Fault was overdue for an adjustment...

Earthquakes worry me a lot less than other natural disasters. Having lived in tornado country. Now those things are scary.
I completely agree. Earthquakes can be prepared for. There ain't nothin' you can do if a tornado decides to land on your house.

Once you've rumbled through a couple of small quakes, they stop being upsetting. They were exciting when I first moved to CA, though. And I moved here during the period of seismic activity that led up to the 89 quake.
Yup...I remember when I was living in SoCal at the time of the big Northridge quake. Mr West had moved to California a short month before, and being the over-cautious person that I am, I had lectured him about how to behave in an earthquake (get away from furniture or falling objects, get into a hallway or doorway, etc.).

Northridge hit early in the morning, hard. We scrambled into the nearby doorway, the house creaking and shuddering with that ting-a-ling earthquake soundtrack of rattling glass and metal -- and as Mr West braced himself against the doorjam, he asked brightly, "How big do you think this one is?"

His first earthquake...he figured that level of excitement happened all the time. :-)

I told him, "If it's not epicentered right under this damn house -- then it's a friggin' big one, maybe even a massive one. This could be bad." As it was -- I had friends who had to have their house bulldozed -- it got completely shaken off its foundation. They moved to Reno. :-)
More exciting than anything else. There haven't been any big quakes around here for a while, so they stand out. I realize this feels like I'm tempting fate.
Wow, scary and exciting all at once! Did you do the "Did you feel it" questionaire?
It's funny. My beloved was having a rehearsal with one of the bands he plays with (light jazz combo that plays standards for corporate parties, wineries, etc.) when everything started rolling...and rolling...and rolling.

We're California natives, so we don't panic about earthquakes until fires start breaking out, but this time it took us a minute to figure out for sure what was going on. My beloved and I have both been sick today with a cold that involves fun side effects like dizzy spells. We both thought we were just woozing out again. Luckily George and Priscilla were both lucid enough to figure it out faster than we did.

Priscilla's daughter lives near the epicenter, but turned out to have been in Oakland when the quake hit, so she's fine.

Here? We have a mildly tweaked cat...but it's hard to tell the difference since he was already spazzing out from people being in the house.
It's been pretty seismically quiet for a while, hasn't it? When I first moved here, twenty years ago now, it was a seismically active period. I suppose it was the lead up to the Loma Prieta quake or something. Anyway, I got used to small quakes fairly quickly. It feels like ages since I've experienced anything this size. There was one two years ago, maybe, in the 5 range near enough for me to feel it.

I have a complicated set of reactions. I find them mostly exciting and kinda fun. But then I remember what the 89 quake was like, and how freaked out I was by the aftershocks. Was living in Oakland and working in Mt View at the time, and couldn't get home for more than 24 hours due to bridge closures. And when I finally went over the Dumbarton Bridge, the KGO radio towers had bent and toppled. It made an impression.
Gah, how scary. I can never understand how people say you get used to them. We're in the holding pattern up here for the really big one, subduction type, but mostly we get very occasional small ones. Never big and never very long. Each time my heart has spazzed out from the scare. Glad you're all right.
I should write up my 89 experiences some time. It was freaky, because it took a little while to sink in exactly what had happened. Like this one, it was a long-duration quake, only unlike this one, it started with a really big BUMP. And then the reports started coming in, wild misreports about bridges down. And real reports about highways pancaked. I didn't get home for a day because of bridge closures.

My friend Scott was at Candlestick Park with his family to see the World Series game. He tells a surreal story of watching the stands sway. Much of the Bay Area had come to a screeching halt because it was the year of the cross-bay series, Oakland vs San Francisco. So the highways were far emptier than they might have been at 5pm on a weekday.
You should write it up (though it'll probably scare me to read it ;-) Ever since the reporting of that quake, I've never been able to drive under overpasses without a twinge, especially if you have to stop for a light under one. Living in the Pacific northwest, it's never entirely out of your mind that a very big one could come at any time.
my mom was on her boat at oyster point. i already have boat phobia. random rocking? i would have freaked out. FREAKED OUT. didn't feel it in santa rosa.
Yeah, it was pretty close to me (epicenter in San Jose) and a long ways away from you. The duration was more the surprising part. Earthquake on a boat? NO THANKS.
The strange thing is not the safety issue: 5-6 range is pretty mild. It's more the freakout that happens when we feel quakes this big. For me this definitely recalls 1989. Mr P is more just amused by it.
The epicenter was 5 miles away from where I live. Let me tell you, the husband and I are AWAKE. The small person, however, slept through it all.

Nothing is damaged. But things shook and rolled.
That sucker rolled on for about 15 to 20 seconds according to the news report I heard driving home (I was teaching at our congregation's high school program) and damn, I believe it was for twenty seconds.

That is a long time when the earth is moving under your feet.

I'm trying to remember what year it was I was visiting all my family in Marin when there was a 4.8. Hmmm...before this latest batch of surgery but not that much earlier. My grandfather was one of the top earthquake guys in California. He's retired now but still keeps his hand in. It's adorable to watch how excited he gets when one hits. He runs down to his giant fault map of the state and can guess to within a few miles of where the epicenter was. Don't ask me how, it involves timing the waves as they come in. Then he calls all his friends and they make fun of the stupid questions the reporters ask their experts.

It is an adrenaline rush. My first thought upon feeling it was that a truck had hit the house. Which, ah, it did, when I was very little, so I suppose it was a telling first thought.
Yeah, big machinery moving can trick me into thinking 'quake' before I realize what is really going on. I imagine if a truck hit my house, I'd think 'quake' first :)

4 and up is big enough that when you feel it, you realize pretty quickly that this is what an earthquake is. I don't know that I've ever really been aware I was experiencing something smaller while in the middle of it.
Just got home and read the headline and thought of you. Glad you're ok! It sounds like Mr. P kinda has the same attitude I have towards tornadoes. Which, actually, is the same way I feel about rollar coasters--scary and fun as long as no one gets hurt.

Little quakes like this, the worst thing that happens is your precarious piles of stuff might fall over. They do wake you right up, though.
Ack! Am glad you're fine, and hope that you were able to sleep afterward.
I was reading this morning that people closer to the epicenter had a much rougher ride: we didn't have anything knocked off shelves, but people in southeast San Jose did. Bet they were up for ages last night.
Being originally from the midwest, I've weathered many tornadoes. One of the worst, I think it was back in '76. My sister and I grabbed all the survival stuff and went to the basement. Our basement was brick and pretty solid. I was leaning against the wall when I felt wetness on my back. I turned around and looked at the wall. The wind pressure was so high that it was forcing rainwater through the bricks. We ended up with about six inches of water on the floor. That was pretty scary. We had to worry about the foundation of the house collapsing. My physics professor stood outside and watched the progress of the funnel clouds till his wife jerked him back into the house. He thought it was fascinating.
After I moved to AZ, I have experienced two small quakes. Neither of which I actually felt, but we had some minor damage to dishes falling off tables and stuff and swimming pools sloshing. I think earthquakes are more frightening. Used to have nightmares of falling into giant cracks in the earth.
Mr P was telling me this morning that there *are* things you can do to mitigate tornados, if you have land around your house. You can plant trees in patterns that direct the tornados away. You can also have small ponds near your house. He said that nothing kills a funnel faster than pumping it full of water. This was interesting.

There's nothing you can do to stop or redirect a quake. You can only make your house a safer place.

(Edited and reposted for clarity. Doh.)
Good to know you're okay! Way to go on having a built-in personal Richter-scale meter!
Experience calibrates that personal meter. Though it's been a while since we've had much activity!