California earthquake leaves tens of thousands without electricity, 2 deaths

A California earthquake with a 6.4 magnitude has left tens of thousands without electricity and has reportedly taken two lives. The earthquake occurred before dawn on Tuesday, damaging roads, water systems and homes. At least 11 were reported injured as well as two deaths from “medical emergencies.” The quake struck at 2:30am PST and was followed by around 80 aftershocks. The quake was centred 350 km north of San Francisco offshore of rural Humboldt County.

Police closed a bridge crossing the Eel River into Ferndale, while at least four other roads in the county were closed due to earthquake damage. A possible gas line may have ruptured and is reportedly under investigation. Another roadway section was reportedly sinking according to the Highway Patrol.

Ferndale and the adjacent towns of Fortuna and Rio Dell appear to be the hardest hit, with damage including water main breaks and around two dozen homes receiving a warning that they were too unstable to be inhabited safely, according to state emergency officials. One resident, Daniel Holsapple says he grabbed his pet cat and ran outside after his house was shaken in the middle of the night.

“The shaking was really intense. There was no seeing what was going on. It was just the sensation and that general low rumbling sound of the foundation of the whole house vibrating.”

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According to the Straits Times, another resident in the area, Janet Calderon, says she was already awake and noticed her cats were agitated moments before the quake hit.

“Everything on my desk fell over.”

California’s early earthquake warning system appeared to have worked, with electronic alerts being sent to mobile devices to some three million northern California residents around 10 seconds before the first shakes were felt.

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Ann Carter

Ann Carter is an award-winning journalist from the United States with over 12 years experience in print and broadcast news. Her work has been featured in America, China and Thailand as she has worked internationally at major news stations as a writer and producer. Carter graduated from the Walter Williams Missouri School of Journalism in the USA.

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