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2 dead, 11 injured after 6.4 magnitude earthquake hits Northern California

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  • 2 dead, 11 injured after 6.4 magnitude earthquake hits Northern California

    Posted: Dec 20, 2022 / 04:22 AM PST
    Updated: Dec 20, 2022 / 01:37 PM PST

    by: Associated Press, Tony Kurzweil

    A powerful earthquake rocked a rural stretch of the Northern California coast early Tuesday, jolting residents awake, cutting off power to 70,000 people, and damaging some buildings and a roadway, officials said. At least 11 injuries and two deaths were reported.

    The magnitude 6.4 earthquake occurred at 2:34 a.m. near Ferndale, a small community about 210 miles (345 kilometers) northwest of San Francisco and close to the Pacific coast. The epicenter was just offshore at a depth of about 10 miles (16 kilometers). Numerous aftershocks followed.

    The temblor was followed by at least two dozen aftershocks. One of the strongest registered a magnitude of 4.6 just about 5 minutes after the initial quake, according to the U.S. Geological Survey.

    The shaking was felt in San Jose to the south and into the state of Oregon to the north, the U.S. Geological Survey’s site reported.

    There was “some damage” to buildings and infrastructure in Humboldt County, and two hospitals in the area lost power and were running on generators, but the scale of the damage appeared to be “minimal” compared to the strength of the quake, according to Brian Ferguson, a spokesperson for the California Governor’s Office of Emergency Services.

    ... Approximately 11 people were reported as injured, the Humboldt County Sheriff’s Office said in an early afternoon statement. Officials noted there were two deaths as result of “medical emergencies” during or just after the quake.

    Damage was mostly focused on the small communities of Rio Dell, Ferndale and Fortuna, Cal OES Director Mark Ghilarducci said during a news conference in Sacramento.

    ... Authorities closed an important bridge in Ferndale that was damaged. The state highway department tweeted a photo showing crumpled pavement.

    State Sen. Mike McGuire, who represents the area, said Rio Dell, home to just a few thousand people, sustained most of the damage. McGuire said he was not in the area at the time of the earthquake, but received reports of “violent,” sustained shaking.

    He said there was one confirmed structural fire, a few structures came off their foundations, and the municipal water system was damaged, but it was unclear if any homes and businesses lost access to water.

    Authorities said more than 70,000 people lost power.