The epicenter was eight miles west of Whitesburg and was centered about .7 miles deep, according to the National Weather Service in Jackson. The U.S. Geological Service confirmed the quake's time as 12:08 p.m. WKYT-TV chief meteorologist Chris Bailey said the earthquake was the strongest in Kentucky since a 5.2 quake that hit Bath County in 1980. The USGS reported that it was felt in West Virginia, Tennessee, Ohio, North Carolina, Georgia, Indiana and South Carolina. But the most dramatic effects were in Eastern Kentucky.
Craig Dixon, a Letcher County miner, lives in the small community of Sycamore Loop, about 2 miles from the epicenter. "I was sitting at home, on my computer, my wife was feeding the dogs, when it sounded like a 747 was crashing into the house," said Dixon, 48. "Everything in the house started shaking and rattling for about 15 seconds." The "weirdest sight," Dixon said, was "the hundreds of spiders and bugs that came out of the ground and started climbing on the outside of the house." The Dixon house experienced no damage, he said, but some of his neighbors told him there were cracks in the foundations of their homes. "It seemed like people higher up on the mountains got more vibration than we did," he said. Dixon said he has heard hundreds of coal-mining blasts in his job, "but nothing like what I heard today. It was scary enough, but it would have been even more terrifying if it had been in the middle of the night."
Will Nash of Teach for America was in Prestonsburg conducting professional development training with a group of 25 teachers. "Felt it in the library as ceiling fans and books shook," he wrote on Twitter. Lt. Ken Sexton of the Whitesburg Fire Department said officials in Letcher County were trying to assess damage, but they had not received any reports of injuries. Dispatcher Barbara Brashear of Perry County emergency services in Hazard said there had been two reports of property damage so far, but no injuries. "We have reports of a lot of pictures falling off the wall," she said. "We've been told it was felt as far up as Cincinnati and as far south as Georgia."
The state police post in Hazard covers five counties: Perry, Letcher, Knott, Leslie, Perry and Breathitt. Dispatcher Ryan Adams said there were no injuries or structural-damage reports, but "we're getting reports from all across the region of people's pictures being knocked off the wall, and ceramic figurines being broken," he said. Tom Monarch was on the second floor of his home in Lexington's Chevy Chase neighborhood when he felt a vibration like an "unbalanced washing machine." "It sustained for a little over 30 seconds," he said, but it reminded him of the 1980 earthquake, when he was a child in Frankfort. "It kept vibrating, and then it tapered off." About 3 p.m., Bailey reported that aftershocks of 2.2 and 2.3 magnitude had been reported near the epicenter of the original quake.
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