SoCal Got Hit by a #Hurriquake

Southern California got hit by a HURRIQUAKE yesterday.  Or, that’s the hashtag that was trending anyway.  It wasn’t as serious as it sounds.

People in SoCal were hunkered down while the remnants of Hurricane Hilary passed through . . . when a fairly large earthquake hit about 75 miles northwest of L.A.  (Centered near Ojai, California.  Pronounced OH-hi.)

It was a 5.1.  So not huge, but not nothing.  A restaurant close to where it happened posted a video of bottles falling off shelves.  But it only lasted about five seconds.  (Here’s the video.)

A lot of people in L.A. didn’t even feel it, and the rains also weren’t as bad as some expected.  But the hashtag “Hurriquake” immediately started trending.  Here’s a quick rundown of what happened . . .

1.  SoCal wasn’t really hit by a hurricane.  Hilary got downgraded to a tropical storm.  And thankfully, San Diego and L.A. weren’t hit as hard as they could have been.  Still, there WAS flooding in spots, especially inland.

2.  An earthquake alert went out to phones at 2:45 P.M., just as the storm was peaking in L.A.  It initially said it was a 6.0, so some people ran outside in case it was the real deal . . . but just ended up getting drenched by rain.

3.  The hashtag “Hurriquake” was trending within minutes.  A fake “Hurriquake” movie poster went viral, and people joked that a “sharknado” was the next logical step.  A handful of people tried to get “Earthcane” trending instead, but it didn’t gain traction.  (“L.A. Daily News” did a round-up of posts.)

4.  Merriam-Webster even chimed in.  They said, “Hurriquake is a new one for us too.”  But the site HAS had it as a word since 2010.  Their definition is, quote, “Theoretically, the worst possible natural disaster that could ever occur, a hurricane and earthquake happening simultaneously.”

5.  Google searches for “Hurriquake” skyrocketed.  In one hour, it went from a word no one was googling to a word EVERYONE was googling.

6.  People in SoCal got bombarded by texts from people back East.  Friends and family were already tracking the storm, and panicked when they saw there was an EARTHQUAKE on top of it.  There were also plenty of moms texting, “Time to move back home yet?”

7.  There was brief concern about a possible tsunami.  The earthquake was near the coast, so that’s always a possibility.  But the National Weather Service immediately let people know there was NO tsunami threat.  (What would that have been called?  A “Hurri-nami-quake”?)