Eileen was standing in the checkout line at Staff of Life grocery store when the wave hit. The shaking caused the hanging light above her head to break free, and nearly hit her as it came down, swinging just inches from her face.
Andrea was playing Frisbee on the big open athletic field at the university that overlooks Santa Cruz. She happened to look down towards Santa Cruz, and noticed little puffs of smoke moving across town. As she peered at the unusual scene, she saw the wave crossing the field, and heading toward her. She braced herself and rode out the wave as it passed beneath her. She reported that lamp posts pivoted back and forth as the wave crossed the field. When it reached the buildings, windows began to explode in it's wake.
I was living in Madison, Wisconsin at the time, and remember turning on the TV news soon after the event. From what was being reported by the hyperbolic mainstream media, it appeared as though California, especially San Francisco, had been destroyed. A good life-lesson to not put too much trust in the mainstream media.
The damage was extensive, but not nearly as bad as the evening news had made it out to be. Santa Cruz was hit hardest by the quake. All of the roads were closed and the folks in Surf City were left to fend for themselves. The road closures made it impossible to use trucks to bring in relief supplies into the area. Therefore the Watsonville Airport became one of the most important municipalities in the county, and was the only way in or out of the area for days.
There was no electricity, so only battery operated radios and televisions worked. Unfortunately, there was no television being broadcast, and a quick scan of the radio dial found an eerily quiet hiss of static from one end to the other, except for one bright spot at 1080 on the AM band. Fortunately for Santa Cruz, KSCO was equipped with a generator, and immediately returned to the air within minutes of the quake. The local news radio station quickly became the only source of information in Santa Cruz, and served as the primary staging area for all of the media and other operations who used KSCO's generator to recharge batteries.
Thanks to KSCO for their community service in the Loma Prieta quake and every other major event that has taken place and will take place on the Central Coast.