1 magnitude earthquake hit North Carolina early Sunday, rattling homes, businesses and residents.
According to the North Carolina Geological Survey, it is the strongest earthquake to shake the state since 1926.
While the epicenter is reported to be in Alleghany County, it was felt as far away as Atlanta and Washington D.C., as well as Virginia, South Carolina and Tennessee.
There were no immediate reports of injuries, but Sparta Mayor Wes Brinegar said there is damage in the town of about 1,800 people.
“It felt like a big locomotive going by and a big wave coming underneath the bed,” said the mayor, “I’ve lived here my whole life and have never felt anything like that.”
Alleghany County Sheriff Bryan Maines said how “stuff started falling off of the wall” while he was getting ready for church, citing that the house appeared to shift, and it felt like it might fall down.
“Started getting some sheet rock damage. My chimney was starting to crack,” Maines said, “Several houses with structure damage. We have folks out right now. There are houses that have shifted 1 or 2 inches off their foundation. There are folks who have had to leave their homes because it’s not safe inside. It’s a pretty big event.”
Meanwhile, local resident Michael Hull noticed a group of deer running as he stand in his driveway.
“Not even a minute passed and the side-to-side motion started,” he said.
“It takes you a minute to realize what’s happening, and you just can’t believe it. Then it was over. It was loud, like God was shaking a mountain at you, literally.”
The U.S. Geological Service said that the population living in the affected areas resides in structures “that are resistant to earthquake shaking, though vulnerable structures exist.”
The largest earthquake to hit the state in 1916 was recorded to be a magnitude 5.5, which occurred near Skyland.