RIDGECREST, Calif. — At first, Amber Hamlin didn't think much of the shaking that started to envelop her bedroom in this compact desert community.
After all, she had already endured a major 6.4-magnitude earthquake on the Fourth of July and a day's worth of aftershocks.
But at 8:20 p.m. PST Friday, just as she had settled down to watch television with her three children, the shaking started. And kept going. And going.
"It started getting more intense, like a jerking motion," the 48-year-old stay-at-home mom said. It was accompanied by a sound she described as "like a rumble."
This was the 7.1 quake that had its epicenter near Ridgecrest and was felt from the San Francisco Bay area to the casino resorts of Las Vegas. But for all the shaking, the damage overall remained relatively light. The quake directed most of its energy in the sparsely populated areas of desert north of Los Angeles.
In Ridgecrest, the shaking just wouldn't stop as dawn started to arrive Saturday. The working-class community has long stayed out of the limelight with many of its residents having jobs attached to a nearby naval weapons center at China Lake.
Not now. Media flooded the city to report on the quake. Rescue workers arrived from surrounding counties. An army of power company workers in bucket trucks were driving around Ridgecrest looking for downed wires. Police patroled residential areas all night to protect against looters.