Aug. 16 quake

Shortly before 8 a.m., a 4.2 magnitude earthquake hit 2.5 miles southwest of Hutchinson. Many in the Manhattan area felt the quake.

No, it wasn’t residual thunder from last night’s storms.

A 4.2 magnitude earthquake hit central Kansas just before 8 a.m. Friday about 2.5 miles southwest of Hutchinson, the U.S. Geological Survey reported. Residents near the quake reported items falling off of walls and shelves.

Three aftershocks, measuring 2.6, 2.7 and 3.1 in magnitude, shook the area in the hours after the initial quake.

In Manhattan, social media was abuzz with reports of the quake, with reports of shaking chairs and beds early in the morning.

At Tuttle Creek Lake, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers recently decommissioned its earthquake monitoring equipment, but operations manager Brian McNulty said he felt it at the Corps’ headquarters at the lake.

According to data from the Kansas Geological Survey, the quake near Hutchinson is the fourth strongest in Kansas this year. Officials registered a 4.8 magnitude earthquake in Rooks County on June 22.

Seismologists measure earthquakes based on the energy they release using the moment magnitude scale, which gives measurements on a logarithmic scale. That means that a level 4 earthquake is 10 times stronger than a level 3 earthquake, which itself is 10 times stronger than a level 2 earthquake, and so on.

The moment magnitude scale, which combines seismographic frequency data from three other magnitude scales, replaces the Richter scale since it gives a more reliable earthquake size estimate, according to the U.S. Geological Survey.

But they also measure earthquakes using the Modified Mercalli Scale, a scale that uses Roman numerals I-XII to measure quakes based on their effects on people and structures. A quake that ranks 4.2 on the Richter scale is also measured at VI on the Mercalli scale.

That means that the quake was felt by everyone in the area, with some frightened people running outdoors and falling plaster and chimneys, but only small damage in the area.

The earthquake follows an evening of strong weather in the area. Thunderstorms that developed early Thursday evening dunked Manhattan in 2.21 inches of rain, with medium-sized hail reported in spots around the area. A brief flash flood warning for the area lasted until 1:45 a.m. Friday.

Much of the area remains under a hazardous weather outlook, with the National Weather Service predicting a high chance for thunderstorms Friday evening.

Those storms could produce large to very large hail with damaging winds, as well as possible tornadoes. Thunderstorms are possible Saturday through Sunday morning, with locally heavy rainfall and tornadoes possible Saturday.

Since the beginning of the year, Manhattan has seen 37.26 inches of rain — or 12.52 inches above the normal amount through Aug. 16.