California earthquake : Tens of thousands remain without electricity after earthquake

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California earthquake ; Earthquakes in California caused a rainbow of ripples on a map.
At 2:34 a.m. local time, a tremor measuring 6.4 on the Richter scale rocked the little town of Ferndale, located about 210 miles (345 kilometres) northwest of San Francisco and close to the Pacific coast. Just offshore, at a depth of around 10 miles, was where the earthquake’s epicentre occurred (16 kilometers). Aftershocks continued to occur frequently after the initial quake.

Around 40,000 customers, or more than half of the original 72,000, had their power restored by Tuesday night, thanks to Pacific Gas & Electric. The power company estimated that power will be fully restored in 24 hours.

It is nothing new for an earthquake to shake the ground in the region known for its redwood forests, beautiful mountains, and the legendary marijuana crop grown in the three-county Emerald Triangle. Many, however, found this motion to be more jarring and unsettling than the standard rolling sensation.

California earthquake : Tens of thousands remain without electricity after earthquake
California earthquake : Tens of thousands remain without electricity after earthquake
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Araceli Huerta, who was still shaken up 10 hours later, claimed, “You could see the floor and walls trembling.” One of the residents exclaimed, “It sounded like a freight train was going through my house.”

Assessments of building and infrastructure damage were still ongoing. Brian Ferguson, a spokesman for the California Governor’s Office of Emergency Services, said that while two hospitals in Humboldt County lost electricity and were forced to run on generators, the damage seemed rather minor given the magnitude of the earthquake.

The Humboldt County Sheriff’s Office announced at a news conference that 12 individuals had been injured, including one with a broken hip and another with a head wound, and that the conference had been interrupted by a strong aftershock. An 83-year-old and a 72-year-old died because they did not receive immediate medical attention for “medical issues” during or immediately after the earthquake.

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At a press conference in Sacramento, Emergency Services Director Mark Ghilarducci reported that the little communities of Rio Dell, Ferndale, and Fortuna sustained the lion’s share of the damage.

Officials reported that after a preliminary assessment, at least 15 properties in Rio Dell, a small town of around 3,000 people where the destruction was worst, were severely damaged and ruled uninhabitable, and 18 others were seriously damaged. After a comprehensive assessment of the damage, they expect the number of displaced people to climb to 150 from their initial estimate of 30.

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Due to leakage, the city’s water supply had to be shut down for repairs for up to two days. A water station was put up at the fire station and portable toilets were placed outside City Hall.

The main route into Ferndale, across a bridge over the Eel River constructed in 1911, has been closed due to damage, forcing drivers to take a more circuitous route through the mountains to get to the picturesque Victorian town, where the entirety of Main Street is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

As the former proprietor of the Ferndale Enterprise newspaper, Caroline Titus reported that only a few windows were broken by the quake. Some of the plants in her 140-year-old home were broken, and her coffee bar, portraits, and books all fell to the floor.

Titus summed up the damage as “pain in the butt sort” agony.

Building standards have forced retrofits to make structures far more resilient to shaking since a 7.2 magnitude earthquake in the area in 1992 injured hundreds, started fires, and destroyed many homes, Titus said.

Although, she emphasised, the same terror is felt with each powerful tremor: “Is this the one you’ve been looking for? Can I get a nine on this?”

Chief Shane Wilson of the volunteer Rio Dell Fire Department stated the department was initially slowed in responding to some 60 calls, including two fires, because garage doors were off their hinges and had to be pried open. This was reminiscent of the situation following the 1992 earthquake. Thirty years ago, the garage door at the firehouse in the small town of Petrolia jammed, trapping the fire engines within.

State Senator Mike McGuire, who represents the area, said that rain has hindered Pacific Gas & Electric’s repair efforts because a helicopter couldn’t be used to survey damage to the main transmission line that goes into the region.

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