The east coast has been busy this week prepping for Hurricane Irene, but no one expected another natural disaster shortly after 2 p.m. this afternoon — a 5.9 magnitude earthquake that struck in Mineral, VA. As the closest metropolitan area, Washington, DC stations went into continuing coverage.

WJLA, the ABC affiliate, and WRC, the NBC O&O, both reported the news shortly before 2 p.m. On WJLA, which first broke in with a lower-third ticker, meteorologist Bob Ryan passed off coverage to Alison Starling and Brad Bell after 3 p.m. Interestingly, WJLA was the only DC-area station not to take the special report from their national affiliated network — ABC offered a special report to their affiliates, anchored by Diane Sawyer, at 2:13 p.m.

WRC aired an NBC news special report anchored by Savannah Guthrie in New York. Meteorologist Doug Kammerer took over after the national report and passed off coverage to Tom Sherwood and Liz Crenshaw shortly after 2:30 p.m. Read more