Dear Mother Nature,

I live in Pittsburgh because in addition to loving this city, the climate is mild, and the chance of catastrophic natural events is much smaller here than in other cities.

I don’t have to worry too much about tornado activity (not like Tina Fey in Texas who has been known to call us all, “So, we’re all huddled in the closet playing Uno and there are currently seven tornados surrounding us. D just made DD draw four and you should see the look on his face because he only had one card left, except we’re playing by flashlight so it’s kind of hard to see his face, and who knows, maybe his “draw four” was really a “reverse,” LOL. How are yinz guys up there? Oh, gotta go. I think I heard a tree land on my car.”)

I don’t have to worry about hurricanes ripping my roof off, or just sitting on my house for three whole days like Katrina did to my in-laws in Cancun.

I don’t have to plan my day around the fact that it will be 103 degrees by 7:30 a.m. and if I’d like to do any sort of outdoor activity, like retrieving the morning newspaper, I’d better plan it around a trip to the mailbox, because stepping outside after 10 a.m., well, I might literally burst into flames.

Yeah, we have straight line wind, hail, lightning, and sporadic droughts, but we don’t have volcanic ash raining down on us, rogue waves sweeping our houses away, or half our state currently engulfed in a forest fire.

Landslides are rare, and at most, a sinkhole here might swallow a car.

I don’t have to tunnel my way out of my home in the winter, except for that one time this past winter when you were all, “Booyah!” Which, touche, Mother Nature. Touche.

And unlike folks in Mexico City or LA, I don’t have to worry about earthquakes.

Until now.

So, seriously, for the love of Julie Bologna, cut it out.




  1. Sarah
    June 23, 2010 4:43 pm

    Reading this, I got a little laugh. I’ve lived in California most of my life, and had only felt 3 earthquakes – prior to Easter of this year. Since that time, I’ve felt almost a dozen earthquakes; several of them 5.0+ and the big one of 7.2. I feel now like the way that they portray Californians on tv and in the movies – I can now guess the magnitude to within two-tenths. So, I guess this is just a long way of saying, I feel your pain. And hope that it doesn’t happen again.

  2. BeauJacques
    June 23, 2010 4:44 pm

    You are much more likely to get struck by lightning than die in a:
    hurricane, tornado, earthquake, tsunami, or volcanic eruption,

    we get lightning n’at!

  3. Tina
    June 23, 2010 4:48 pm

    Did you feel it much?
    My friends in California usually do not even raise and eybrow to 5.5, but I would freak out, I guess.

    I experienced only once a 4.9 earthquake in the usually also totally safe German town of my childhood (no storms, no vulcano, usually no earthquakes either) and it was the scariest thing EVER.

    It happened at night and lots of people did not even wake up, what I could not get at all since it was SOOOO LOUD and things were falling out of the shelfs and the house made desperate noises.

    It scared me so much that I it was one of the serious reasons why I turned a job offer in San Francisco down, although I love the city to death. I just cannot live on San Andreas Fault, seriously.

    I hope everybody is fine!

  4. Jake
    June 23, 2010 4:52 pm

    Blame Canada.

  5. DuranieGirl
    June 23, 2010 4:54 pm

    I am in Johnstown, Pa and I felt it at my office. I was freaking out because I thought I was having a vertigo problem or was getting ready to kill over. I also thought perhaps al queda got to us. I never want to experience that feeling again!

  6. Ginny's Dad
    June 23, 2010 4:57 pm


    I was on a ladder cutting off some dead branches on a pine tree and the ladder started to shake. Fortunately, I was able to grab a nearby branch to hang on. ………………. Just kidding. I doubt anybody felt anything. It was probably a “placebo” affect or too many Zimas.

  7. mamabear
    June 23, 2010 5:10 pm

    Is it sad that I’m totally jealous of those who felt the quaking? Now, that’s bucket list material (as long as it’s not destruct-o-type shaking).

  8. Sooska
    June 23, 2010 5:26 pm

    I live in the eastend and didn’t feel it. I know there was an earthquake in Cleveland in the mid or late 80s that was felt here. There was another one at some point too that was much milder. Gotta cut this short- there is a severe thunderstorm bearing down on me. I’d run for the hills per Jefff Verszyla but that is where I am already.

  9. Carpetbagger
    June 23, 2010 5:27 pm

    Wasn’t that about the time that USA scored its goal?

  10. parkingchair
    June 23, 2010 5:39 pm

    This is great news! It’s good to know that Casey Hampton was doing jumping jacks to get ready for the upcoming season.

  11. Noelle
    June 23, 2010 6:54 pm

    I’m from Michigan – did anyone else have “tornado drills” in elementary school where they herded you into the boys bathroom, made you sit around the edge of the room, and hold hardcover math books over the back of your neck? I’m freakin’ scarred for life.

  12. kGC
    June 23, 2010 6:55 pm


    In Sept-1987 I had just moved to Long Beach, CA. I was in the office on the 11th floor overlooking the Harbor at ~7am or so. I heard the venetian blinds going clack-clack-clack.. the window-washers had been there the day before.. I looked around… no window-washers… then I realized this was NOT the window-washers! Geeminee Christmas!! The entire building was rockin’ and rollin! Wooooaaah!!

    I called my wife, who was in Pgh, and said “I’m alright.” She said, in a panic.. “From WHAT?”

    My wife came out that weekend and we had a major aftershock… very early that Saturday morning.. I was OUT of our bed at our Seal Beach apartment.. FAST!! She was ‘on her own’!! LMAO. Stuff flew off our walls and fell off shelves.

    Then, there’s the story about where I was in Japan at age 14 attending the Boy Scout Jamboree at Asigiri Heights (Mt. Fugi area)… got caught in a major typhoon… had to be rescued by the Japanese Army…

    Anyone want to go on vacation with me?

  13. Different Brian
    June 23, 2010 9:28 pm

    I was sitting at my desk downtown and felt it. Except I just thought it was the HVAC trying to kick on, and failing. I remember the buzz feeling in my feet. Except then a few minutes later I got an email asking if I felt the quake.

    Don’t be jealous though; I’m kinda, well, blind, so I have super other senses. Feeling an earthquake from Canada though… kinda cool.

  14. Suzanne
    June 23, 2010 9:42 pm

    I lived in SoCal until November 16th, and felt many quakes, several of which were larger than the one today. I, too, could guess the magnitude of a quake, and we often took bets about which seismologist from CalTech would appear on TV to discuss the quake. Now, having said that (yes, I know, I’m long-winded), I sat there shaking at work today (4th floor, Univ of Pitt), and wondering if I was having an attack! It’s not supposed to shake here – didn’t I leave that behind?!

  15. bluzdude
    June 23, 2010 9:44 pm

    I remember the one in Cleveland that Sooska mentioned… I was at home alone in Toledo, playing records in the living room. I looked up and saw that our easy-chair was rocking a little bit.

    I said to myself, “Geez, I better turn the stereo down.”

    Wasn’t until I got to school that I learned it was an earthquake.

  16. VAgirl
    June 24, 2010 12:17 am

    I worked at home and was in my office on the 3rd floor and felt my ol’ city house start to sway it, lasted about 5 mn. I went outside and then checked to make sure my basement was ok. My first experience with tremors was overseas in Turkey. Yeah had to pause and say what they heck. Then the storm came and I just got my power back on. What a weird weather type of day.

  17. BagitTagit
    June 24, 2010 8:22 am

    I live in Regent Square and felt it. I’ve started a petition to bring it up at the next meeting.

  18. Butcher's Dog
    June 24, 2010 8:57 am

    I was in line at a bank drive-through window when the Cleveland one hit. Thought someone rear-ended me. But there was no one there. Didn’t feel yesterday, though.

    Gotta agree with Ginny on the relative sanity of living in Western PA. Always a bit disconcerting being in Myrtle Beach and seeing all the “Hurricane Evacuation Route” signs. Some of them are 100 miles inland. Me…I’ll shovel snow occasionally.

  19. bucdaddy
    June 24, 2010 10:00 am

    West Virginia: No earthquakes, no hurricanes, no tornadoes, no avalanches, no tsunami, no oil spills.

    We DO have the occasional mine disaster and devastating flood, so we DO try to keep up.

  20. Kathy
    June 24, 2010 1:30 pm

    And I’d be thinking us Californians would be, “huh, feels like we’re having an earthquake. What should I have for dinner?” I remember thinking Loma Prieta was bad when I was sitting in the doorway in 5th grade, watching the bookcases fall over in the house. That one was a little disconcerting.

  21. gunnlino
    June 24, 2010 7:47 pm

    I felt the earth move, then I found out it was just an earthquake, damn, just my luck.

  22. Annie
    June 29, 2010 12:57 pm

    I’m late to this convo because I was on vacation and I’m just catching up on my Google Reader. I saw this all the time about Western PA. Everything is MILD. We have snowstorms, but nothing like lake-effect snow in Buffalo or nor’easter in New England. We have a small change of tornadoes, but nothing like the F5 in the plains. We obviously have flooding, but it’s no where near the devastation in the Midwest. I also add dangerous animals to that list. We have bears, but they aren’t as big or dangerous as the bears out west. If they talk about bears on the news it’s usually because they got stuck in a tree or they are visiting a dumpster. We have a rattlesnake, but it’s small and not very aggressive. Etc, etc. We should adopt a version of the WV motto: Pennsylvania, Mild and Wonderful. And I mean that in a good way.