Magnitude 5.4 quake hits Northern California days after deadly temblor

The epicenter of the magnitude 5.4 earthquake that struck northern California on Sunday morning. (quakebot)

A magnitude 5.4 earthquake hit Humboldt County on New Year’s Day, shaking a region of Northern California still recovering from the deadly earthquake just before Christmas.

The epicenter of Sunday morning’s quake was about 26 miles from Eureka and 9 miles from Rio Dell, hardest hit by the December 20 quake, according to the U.S. Geological Survey. Residents reported that violent shaking began at 10:35 am on Sunday, rattling church services and New Year’s brunch.

The quake came 12 days after a magnitude 6.4 quake killed two, injured 12, and caused extensive damage in Rio Dell, a timber town of about 3,500 people 25 miles south of Eureka. Did. Dozens of buildings were red-tagged in that earthquake, and families were left homeless while on vacation. Residents had been ordered to boil water until last Wednesday.

Sunday’s quake caused additional damage in Rio Dell. Residents and officials described it as a violent shock rather than a prolonged tremor. It was not immediately clear how many buildings were affected by the first quake or whether they were damaged.

The county is urging residents to report damage caused by the earthquake to emergency authorities.

“We are encouraging community members to prepare for aftershocks,” said Humboldt County spokesperson Cati Gallardo.

About 30 percent of Rio Dell residents have no water and about half have no electricity, Humboldt County said at 5 p.m. Sunday. Nearly 1,100 homes were without power around noon Sunday, Pacific Gas and Electric estimated, and by 5 p.m., that number had dropped to 300. Some residents have reported a loss of phone service and Internet access.

Sunday’s quake was loud enough to trigger the state’s early warning system, which is designed to alert residents. Reported. Others said they were alerted after the shaking subsided.

Video captured by residents of Rio Dell and nearby towns such as Scotia and Fortuna showed violent impacts with books and other objects flying off shelves and televisions crashing to the ground. The doorbell’s camera caught the minivan rocking back and forth in the parking lot and the wheels of a light truck just off the ground.

“It felt like the whole house had been pushed over,” said resident Nancy Black. She said she didn’t get an earthquake early warning until after the shaking had subsided, but her dogs Shadow and Copper started whining and running in circles seconds ago, so something could happen. I had a suspicion that this was the case.

Mr. Black said the home did not appear to have suffered any structural damage, but that “everything is a mess.” Most of the pantry’s contents had spilled onto the floor, clearing broken plates and putting books back on the shelves.

Rio Del Mayor Debra Garness said in an interview with CNN, “This time the quake felt stronger. “It was short, but it was more violent. My fridge moved two feet. Objects came out, and the violence cracked the walls.”

Rio Dell Police Chief Greg Allen said on Sunday that several homes were shaken from their foundations and windows in homes and businesses were broken. said.

In an interview with a Bay Area TV station, Allen said, “A lot of things fell off shelves, TVs fell off walls, windows were broken, tableware was broken.” It’s probably on the floor.”

Caltrans temporarily closed the aorta and checked for damage. The Fernbridge, a historic poured concrete bridge that crosses U.S. Route 211 across the Eel River and connects the coastal area to Route 101, was closed for several hours Sunday for seismic safety inspections, Caltrans said. Gallardo said repair work on the bridge was underway on Sunday afternoon. Span has reopened to one-way traffic, but residents should expect delays, she said.

State Senator Mike McGuire (D-Healdsburg) said the city of Riodell is testing the water system to make sure it’s safe to drink.

Shelters were opened Sunday afternoon at Monument Middle School in Rio Del for residents displaced by both quakes or in need of other assistance, the county said. Red Cross-run shelters provide cots and blankets, hygiene kits, food, drinking water, showers and charging stations.

Based on a three-year data sample, California and Nevada experienced an average of five magnitude 5-6 earthquakes each year.

This story was originally published in the Los Angeles Times.

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