Western New York Jolted Awake: 'Felt Like a Car Hit My House

Strongest quake in 40 years hits the region, which includes Buffalo, Niagara Falls
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Feb 6, 2023 9:01 AM CST
Western New York Jolted Awake: 'Felt Like a Car Hit My House
Photo of downtown Buffalo.   (Getty Images/Jacek_Sopotnicki)

A small earthquake rumbled through Western New York early Monday, alarming people in a region unaccustomed to such shaking but apparently causing no significant damage. The US Geological Survey preliminarily reported a magnitude 3.8 earthquake centered east of Buffalo in the suburb of West Seneca at about 6:15am ET. Seismologist Yaareb Altaweel said it was the region's strongest quake in at least 40 years, per the AP. The shaking lasted a few seconds and sent residents first to their windows, then to social media in search of an explanation. "It felt like a car hit my house in Buffalo. I jumped out of bed," Erie County Executive Mark Poloncarz tweeted.

County emergency services officials confirmed the earthquake was felt throughout at least a 30-mile radius, including in Niagara Falls, about 20 miles north of Buffalo, he said. Earthquakes Canada, which measured a 4.2 magnitude event, reported it was felt slightly in southern Ontario. Small earthquakes aren't unusual in upstate New York, but they're rarely felt as strongly. The earthquake comes on the heels of two record-breaking weather events in the region: a snowstorm that dropped as much as 7 feet of snow in November, and a blizzard in December that's blamed for 47 deaths. The Western New York earthquake occurred hours after a powerful quake killed thousands in Turkey and Syria. A USGS spokesperson said there's no connection between the two events.

(More earthquake stories.)

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