Damage and injury reports continue to come in from northern California where a strong earthquake struck earlier today. At about 2:34 am local time, just off-shore the northern California coast near Ferndale, a very strong magnitude 6.4 earthquake struck with a depth of 17.9 km. There have been 50 other earthquakes since then over magnitude 2.5, including magnitude 3.4, 4.4, and 4.6 aftershocks. There were dozens more under a 2.5 magnitude rating.
According to the Humboldt County Sheriff’s Office, two people died and at least 11 people sustained injuries from the earthquake or just after.
“Power remains off for over 70,000 customers in the county. Pacific Gas and Electric Company is actively working to restore power with no estimated time of restoration,” the Sheriff’s office added.
“Damage assessments are currently underway, with significant structural damages, including gas and water lines, observed in the Rio Dell community and moderate damages to properties throughout the Eel River Valley,” the Sheriff’s office said ahead of a planned afternoon press conference.
Caltrans says they are conducting safety inspections due to possible seismic damage on area roads and bridges. They Tweeted a photograph from Route 211 at Fernbridge over the Eel River which shows earthquake damage to a bridge. “There is no estimated time when the roadway will be reopened,” they said.
In addition to roads being impaired, gas and water lines are also damaged. Pacific Gas & Electric Tweeted that “PG&E has initiated its emergency response plan and crews are responding to gas and electric hazards. PG&E is assessing its gas and electric system for any damage and doing everything possible to minimize power and gas outages.”
USGS says there’s a 13% chance of a magnitude 5.0 or larger earthquake in the hours and days ahead after today’s large one.