The year 2020 was already being described as unprecedented, but August appears to be attempting to take that to another level.
In August, schools will start without students, the Wyndham Championship will be played without fans and so far this month North Carolina has had a hurricane and one of the most powerful earthquakes in a century, and it’s only August 10.
It doesn’t appear Hurricane Isais set any records, but the 5.1 magnitude earthquake that occurred about two miles from Sparta on Sunday morning, August 9 at 8:07 did. The earthquake caused damage to buildings and roads in and around Sparta, but no serious injuries have been reported.
People reported feeling the earthquake as far east as Wilmington, as far west as Knoxville, Tennessee, and Lexington, Kentucky, as far north as Arlington, Virginia, and as far south as Atlanta and Augusta, Georgia.
It was the most powerful earthquake to hit the state since 1916, when a magnitude 5.2 earthquake occurred in the Great Smoky Mountains to the west of Sparta.
According to the United States Geological Survey (USGS), the chance of one or more aftershocks this week of magnitude 3 or higher is 34 percent, while the chance of an aftershock larger than 5.1 is about 1 percent.
August seems to be the month for earthquakes in the Southeast, with the most powerful earthquake on record hitting Charleston, South Carolina on August 31, 1886. The estimated magnitude of that earthquake was 7.6, and it damaged buildings as far away as Ohio and Alabama. People reported feeling it as far away as Boston, Chicago and even Cuba.
The damage in Charleston was severe with almost all the buildings in town suffering serious damage and an estimated 14,000 chimneys collapsing. The damage at the time was estimated to be $5.5 million, which would be about $112 million today.
No damage has been reported in Greensboro from the earthquake in Sparta, but it did disturb a lot of folks who were looking forward to sleeping in on Sunday.