A significant earthquake jolted the community of Ferndale in Humboldt County early Tuesday — one year to the day of a similar-sized quake in the area — and damages are still being assessed as at least 100,000 residents are in the dark without power.
The quake struck at 2:34 a.m., with an epicenter beneath the Pacific Ocean about 7.5 miles west of Ferndale, according to the US Geological Survey. It was measured as a magnitude 6.4, and it has been followed by around a dozen smaller aftershocks so far in the same vicinity, including a 3.1M quake at 2:43 a.m., and a 3.4M quake at 2:53 a.m.
Bizarrely, exactly one year ago today, December 20, 2021, a 6.2M earthquake struck, also centered in the Pacific off of Humboldt County. In that quake, some shaking was reported in SF's Sunset District.
As ABC 7 reports, emergency officials are reporting "widespread damages" from the quake, and Humboldt County Sheriff's Office Public Information Officer Samantha Karges said they had two reports of injuries so far, which were "fall-related."
Update: Two individuals reportedly died as a result of "medical emergencies" that occurred during or after the earthquake. And as ABC7 reports, there have been 11 injuries reported so far.
59-year-old resident Joe Filyau tells the New York Times that he's experienced other earthquakes but "never felt one that hard," and he said that "earth was just slamming up and down,” and his newly renovated kitchen sustained some damage. "Everything in the house is just everywhere," he added.
The earthquake was felt in Eureka and as far away as Redding, 100 miles away, as KTVU reports. KTXL reporter Dennis Shanahan tweeted that his ShakeAlert app went off as far away as Sacramento, but the shaking was barely felt there — he posted video of his blinds slightly swaying.
Fernbridge, the 1911 bridge over the Eel River into Ferndale, appeared to sustain some damage, and Caltrans said Route 211 into town would therefore be closed "out of an abundance of caution as they assessed the structure.
FERNBRIDGE EARTHQUAKE DAMAGE: Damage to Fernbridge following the 6.2 magnitude #earthquake in Humboldt County. Main road to Ferndale currently closed off by CalTrans as crews inspect for additional damage. pic.twitter.com/4BPOSvZrN9— Austin Castro (@AustinCastroTV) December 20, 2022
One local resident, Caroline Titus, posted the videos below showing shelves knocked over and other damage inside her Victorian home.
Our home is a 140-year-old Victorian. The north/south shaking is very evident in what fell. This was our coffee station. Sorry for dark video. Power still out. #ferndaleca #earthquake pic.twitter.com/md1WKCS58Z— Caroline Titus (@caroline95536) December 20, 2022
PG&E said that around 71,000 customers were without power — representing 71% of all the customers in Humboldt County. Between homes and businesses that could represent nearly 100,000 residents of the county who are sitting in the dark.
One more photo of damage is below. We'll update you as we learn more.