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The powerful earthquake that struck during game 3 of the 1989 World Series

Monday, October 17th 2022, 5:18 am - On this day in weather history, an earthquake hit California during the 1989 World Series.

This Day In Weather History is a daily podcast by Chris Mei from The Weather Network, featuring stories about people, communities and events and how weather impacted them.


On Tuesday, Oct. 17, 1989, baseball fans expected nothing more than a high-stakes game between the Oakland Athletics and San Francisco Giants, when a terrible disaster struck.

The 1989 Loma Prieta earthquake hit California's Central Coast at 5:04 p.m. It was a powerful magnitude 6.9 earthquake, centred on the Santa Cruz Mountains and rocking the region from Santa Cruz to Oakland, immortalizing that particular World Series as the "Earthquake Series" among baseball fans.

1280px-Cypress structure *"Aerial view of collapsed sections of the Cypress Viaduct of Interstate 880." Courtesy of Wikipedia*

But though the stadium fared well enough, the damage across the rest of the San Francisco area was substantial. Numerous buildings collapsed, and broken gas mains triggered fires that burned out of control for nearly two days.

"I was watching the pregame when... Tim McCarver was recapping Game 2 when the A’s Dave Parker hit a drive into the right-field corner and then the Giants’ Candy Maldonado seemed to hesitate before throwing late to second base allowing Jose Canseco to cross home plate with a run," Weather Network presenter Chris Mei, who was watching the game at the time, recalls. "It was then when suddenly the picture scrambled and the audio went in and all happened so fast."

As for the city's iconic bridges, the Golden Gate Bridge suffered some shaking, but the Nimitz Expressway and San Francisco Bay-Oakland Bay Bridge both collapsed.

In all, some 67 people were killed, including 41 who died in the collapse of the Nimitz Expressway. The earthquake also caused 3,757 injured and $5 billion worth of damage in 1989 dollars, a blow that triggered a recession lasting into the early 1990s.

On today's podcast, Chris Mei discusses his memories of watching the quake strike during a live baseball game, and how the design of the Nimitz Expressway sealed the fate of dozens of motorists driving on it when the quake hit.

To learn more about the 1989 Loma Prieta earthquake, listen to today's episode of "This Day In Weather History."

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Thumbnail: Courtesy of Wikipedia

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