SAN FRANCISCO — About 3:20 a.m. Sunday, Talbot Cox awoke to an intense shaking and swaying in his 20th-floor hotel room in downtown San Francisco.
When he came to his senses, he realized what was happening: a magnitude of earthquake he had never felt before.
“I always wake up to the earthquakes in Oklahoma,” said Cox, 21, an Oklahoma City Community College student. “My family usually sleeps through them.”
This time, that wasn’t the case. His siblings and parents all woke up to the hotel’s violent vibrations.
“It literally felt like someone was at the end of my bed just rocking it with their foot,” Cox said. “I’ve never felt that hard of an impact. You could hear all the boards in the hotel kind of cracking a little bit.”
Cox got a little more than he bargained for on this trip to visit his brother, who attends a computer school in San Francisco. He said for about 45 seconds the building rocked back and forth.
When the building settled, the family members immediately checked social media to confirm what they felt.
“Twitter was exploding with tweets,” he said.
The 6.0-magnitude quake had an epicenter about five miles south of Napa, 50 miles from their hotel.
Nothing in their hotel fell or broke but a chandelier continued to sway for some time after the event. The next day on the news, he said, stations primarily showed camera footage from shops affected by the quake.
With the earthquake being in California wine county, a lot of bottles took a hit. He saw a guitar shop with all its instruments on the floor.
Earthquakes vs. tornadoes
Being from Oklahoma, Cox said he personally thinks tornadoes are scarier than earthquakes.
“I guess the fact that you know tornadoes are coming, it’s hard to describe,” he said. “They’re both deadly. They’re both natural disasters.
“The simple fact that since the tornado is on the ground so much longer, and you get the warning, the adrenaline rush for a tornado is way worse than the adrenaline rush for an earthquake.”