Sweetwater woman on vacation in California recounts earthquake experience


Around this time last night, a major earthquake hit California. A whopping 7.1 magnitude: it’s the biggest quake to strike that state in twenty years.

The day before? Another big one. A 6.4 magnitude earthquake rocked Southern California on the Fourth of July.

WATE Six On Your Side’s Elizabeth Kuebel spoke to a local who’s visiting California and experienced it all.

Bonnie Powell and her granddaughter Addie are from Sweetwater, on vacation in Laguna Beach.

“You could feel the whole building, the whole house shaking,” Powell said.

Videos of the tremors’ impacts were caught on camera. For Powell, seeing those images on her television screen is still frightening.

“It’s something I’ll never forget. And I sit in a chair and I still shake because I still feel that motion, it’s the adrenaline in me,” she said.

Living in East Tennessee, she’s no stranger to an occasional quake. But these two were unlike any she’d ever felt before.

“I’ve been through small ones there in Sweetwater, I could feel it. But nothing like this. It was a very traumatic feeling and there was no way to prepare for it because you didn’t know when it was going to happen, it happened so fast,” said Powell.

Scared, frantic, emotional: those were the thoughts running through her mind Friday night. She’s still shaken up but thankful everybody was ok.

“I thought about you all in Tennessee, wishing that I was back there with you,” Powell said.

Now, she’s hoping to make it back home next week before any other potential earthquakes roll through.

Experts are warning there could be an even bigger quake in the next few days. In fact, they say the probability of a magnitude six is 27 percent.

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